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Asterisk 5 Ways to Show Yourself Compassion
13/02/2017 Lynne Mclean Brown in Coaching / No comments
5 ways to show yourself compassion

5 Ways to show yourself compassion

What does your inner voice tell you? Is the voice kind and encouraging or critical and harsh, or maybe somewhere in between?  When you make a mistake or face a tough challenge what do you tell yourself?  We often do not realise how we treat ourselves through self-criticism.  Many of us are acting as our own harshest critic rather than our own personal cheerleader

Self-criticism can be viewed as being motivating, a way to push us into action.  According to Kristen Neff, PhD studies show that self-criticism can contribute towards low self-esteem, anxiety and depression.   In modern western society, we are often encouraged to think of being self-deprecating as a positive attribute which is preferred to being over confident, boastful or arrogant.   I believe that showing yourself compassion breeds confidence, combats fear and anxiety and helps you face challenges.

We all deserve kindness. 

I believe it is easier to face challenges when we are cheering ourselves on.  There is nothing wrong with a bit of motivation, but how we motivate ourselves and what we tell ourselves is important.  We often face challenges with a  black and white outlook; the things we do are either good or bad, right or wrong, we pass or we fail.  This outlook is pretty unrealistic and unachievable and it adds to the criticism we give ourselves.  This is not motivating it is spirit crushing.

Imagine facing doing something you dread, for me, it would be anything involving public speaking.  If I stand in front of the people that I want to talk to while telling myself that "I can do this" and that "I am going to do the best I can" then I think giving that presentation is going to be much easier than if I am telling myself "you’re going to mess this up" and "you are rubbish at public speaking”

A difficult situation feels easier to handle if you encourage and support yourself through it.

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How to show yourself more compassion

  1. How do we become more compassionate? These are my tips on how to tame that inner critic: Watch your inner voice - Listen to what you tell yourself in the face of a challenge or when you make a mistake. Can you remove the judgement from what has happened?  Pay attention to how you talk to yourself and try to notice it the next time you are being critical and down on yourself?
  2. Let yourself off the hook – People make mistakes, and that is ok. Sometimes the mistakes we make can teach us important lessons.  Mistakes are how we grow and learn as people.  You are not stupid or silly for making an error, you are human.
  3. Remember that you are not alone – Others feel the same way as you do when they face an obstacle. Everyone finds things difficult, everyone makes mistakes. You do not make more mistakes than others you do not handle things badly in comparison.  Can you talk to someone who cares about you? Chances are they only have love and compassion for you.
  4. Think positive - Think of a time you received positive feedback or a compliment.  Consider the impact that positivity can make on us and on those around us. What encouraging thing can you tell yourself?  Cancel out your critic by adding some positivity.  If you make a mistake and feel stupid, try again, correct the error or apologise and congratulate yourself for making a great job of putting things right. Write down or memorise some words of encouragement for yourself, repeat them often to support yourself through a challenge.
  5. Consider how you treat others? - Think about how you would support a friend or a child facing something difficult. Would you berate them or encourage them? Praise them or criticise them? Is what you tell yourself the same as you tell others? Imagine telling someone else the things you tell yourself.  We should be as supportive of ourselves as we are of those around us.  I would never dream of telling my children they had to be perfect and that they can’t mess things up so why would I tell myself that?

Think of how it would feel to face life’s challenges with an encouraging inner voice rather than a critical one. Imagine the potential.  What could you do if you were supporting and reassuring yourself along the way?

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