Let’s be honest, we’re living in a strange period of history – it seems like there’s too much happening all at once, and many of us are experiencing dramatic changes in how we view ourselves and our lives.
For some people this can be an exhilarating time of change, but for others it can seem like they are being forced into completely unending their lives. The tougher things seem to get, the more we tend to fault ourselves for our lives not going perfectly – we take all the blame and dispense merciless self-criticism for circumstances that we likely have no control over!
Ask yourself this: When your best friend is struggling, do you immediately blame them for their circumstances? (Well, maybe… but that is a different conversation for another day.)
When your friends are having a bad day, you are far more likely to be supportive, caring, and offer soothing advice. When they fail at something, you probably help them refocus and start again.
So… why don’t you do that for yourself? How often do you beat yourself up when things go wrong or when times are tough?
I’m guessing you do it way too often – and it’s not alright to treat yourself that way!
Self-compassion helps protect us from distorted thoughts and catastrophic thinking that results from difficult challenges that we face. It helps to keep us grounded and continue to make good decisions rather than surrender to self-pity, depression, and defeatist thinking.
How can you learn to practice self-compassion? Glad you asked!
Learn to live in the present – practice mindfulness
Believe it or not, you rarely live in the present moment. Much of the time your mind is reliving past events or worried about what can happen in the future. If you enjoy holding on to feelings of guilt, self-doubt and anxiety then by all means keep this up. To clear your mind and focus, you must be able to anchor yourself in the present moment. Stop. Breathe deeply and focus on your environment. What do you see, feel, hear, and smell? We will cover mindfulness practices in more detail in a later article.
With a clear mind – understand that you are not alone
Don’t think for a moment that you are the only one who thinks everything has gone wrong. There’s real power in knowing that we are not isolated in our experiences. There have been many others who have survived what you are going through and thrived just like you will. Reach out to someone you trust and let them know what you’re going through.
Practice being kind to yourself
Now that you are calm, and you know that you are NOT alone – treat yourself like you would treat your best friend. Be forgiving, understanding, kind, and supportive of who you are and what you are going through.
These are simple concepts that are very tough to master, but with practice and patience it will change your life. Once you learn how to be your own biggest supporter, there is literally nothing that can hold you back.