Self-compassion, what is it and how do I know I am doing it right?
In my work as a therapist, the words self-compassion come up quite a bit. It is a term we all know, but many people find it hard to actually connect to an action that they can practice. Kristin Neff (the guru of self-compassion) states in her definition of it, “Instead of mercilessly judging and criticizing yourself for various inadequacies or shortcomings, self-compassion means you are kind and understanding when confronted with personal failings – after all, who ever said you were supposed to be perfect?” (More from Kristin Neff at: https://self-compassion.org/)
But how do we find that compassionate voice within ourselves, and towards ourselves? One strategy is to take the compassion we feel towards others and use that same voice of compassion towards our own self-critic. In other words, what would you tell a friend to show support in the same situation?
Another good way to begin this practice is to find statements that feel especially supportive and loving to use towards yourself when that harsh inner-critic comes up. Statements like, “I honor my experience. I am allowed to make mistakes. I am worthy of kindness and compassion.” Once you have a statement that fits for you, try using it towards yourself the next time you make a mistake at work and that critical voice comes up. Sit with yourself for a moment, and really allow yourself to hear that statement out loud (this is a great activity for the car;). Recognize how that feels in your body to hear these kind and loving words from yourself. This is one that gets even more supportive with practice. Go ahead and give it a try! You deserve it!!