05.21.2015

Self-Compassion- Easier Said Than Done?

self-compassion, itsy bitsy indulgences {Gold Foil c/o paperlue}

We’ve all seen the Pinterest sayings about “loving” yourself and “being kind” to yourself, right? Yet, when it all comes down to it, is the concept of “self compassion” really easier said than done? I have been thinking about this topic lately, not so much in the term of “self-compassion,” and earlier this week, in a meeting, my supervisor discussed the topic. In a nutshell it’s all about treating yourself in the same way you would treat a friend. 

I don’t know about you, but I love my friends and family and have always believed in fostering positive relationships with them. I try (and I’m not always perfect…) to remember their birthdays and send little messages of love, to remember special or important dates for them and shoot over encouraging words, provide them with validation for their feelings and encourage them to be positive about themselves. I’m not saying that to toot my own horn or anything, but it just shows the expansive amount of kindness that we (I use first person here because I assume we all do this to varying degrees….) extend to others. The amount of validation we provide to others and the amount of encouragement we send. We want those around us to feel good, to be happy, and to believe in themselves.

But when the mirror is turned the other way (as in, “Oh, you’re making me look at myself now?!”…) I’m the first person to admit that I show myself little self-compassion. Sure I treat myself to a manicure and new hair style here and there. I go on relaxing trips as “mental health breaks,” but the way I talk to myself… well, let’s just say if any friend I had talked to me that way I would have shown them the door a long time ago (and believe me, I have :)). I hold myself to a standard that is likely unobtainable. Average in my world is not okay. Which poses an essential problem, right? How do you show yourself compassion, if “greatness” is always the standard by which you want to live? The simple answer (because I’m afraid a long drawn out answer would just ramble…)? You don’t. You can’t.

For example. I have an expectation for a few outside projects I have been working diligently on every evening after work. If I don’t feel like the receptiveness to them is absolutely perfect, 100% of the time, I automatically assume it’s all doomed and set to fail. If something doesn’t go as planned, it’s automatically my fault… I should have done something to prevent it (and boy isn’t that giving myself a lot of power??…. problem #542 with the scenario, right?). No one in my life ever said I had to be perfect. In fact I can vividly remember my parents saying that I didn’t have to be perfect or great all the time. They just wanted me to try my hardest in all that I did do. So, where did this come from? Likely social comparison… which is a topic in itself.

What to do? I wish I had a magic wand or a bullet point list of ways to be more “self-compassionate,” but I believe that would be trite. I am promising myself to attempt to talk to myself like I would a friend. Encourage myself, tell myself that I don’t have to be perfect. Forgive myself.  It’s a daily work in progress, something that I will likely be “great” at one day and absolutely “suck” at another day… and the compassion lies in being okay with the “sucky” day. It’s about letting go of social compassion and striking that balance between what I am capable of and what I can challenge myself to do in a compassionate and forgiving way. It’s also about recognizing that hey, somethings really aren’t that bad in the grand scheme of life.

I hope this resonated with a few people out there. If you’re looking for more information on self-compassion, be sure to visit this site.

Comments

  1. styleinasmalltown says:

    I love this! Thank you, thank you for putting all of my thoughts and feelings into words! I feel and have have felt the exact same way. I’m so hard on myself and my biggest critic. I try to remember special days and birthdays and to send friendly little notes to my friends and family to let them know that I’m thinking of them. But the thought never occurred to me to treat myself that way. Here’s to trying to do that more. Thank you so much for writing this. I’ve been struggling with loving myself a lot lately so this post is very timely!

    ~Hillary
    http://www.styleinasmalltown.com

    • Shannon&Allison says:

      I am so glad is resonated with you! We all have to be a little nicer to ourselves! Thank you for reading!

  2. Let’s just say that finding this post was not a coincidence. I had two kind friends visit me last night and gently pointed out that I do this. This post was a great follow up. I am my biggest critic. I put myself down so much. I’m slowly recovering from health problems and I’m comparing myself against people who are very healthy. I definitely would have let go of a friend if they spoke to me the way I speak to myself. I needed to hear it from that perspective. Thank you! I need to congratulate myself on accomplishments and not be so critical if I need to take the day to focus on my health. I am going to work diligently to be kinder to myself:) I can’t thank you enough for these great words! I will check out that link, too.

    • Shannon&Allison says:

      I am so glad that this post was able to speak to you! I have to remind myself daily to not be so hard on myself and to be my own best friend! On the days when I am my personal BFF I feel best! Hope your journey is a good one!

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