"Self-compassion is like a muscle. The more we practice flexing it, especially when life doesn’t go exactly according to plan (a frequent scenario for most of us), the stronger and more resilient our compassion muscle becomes.”
This newsletter never strays too far from self-care... for good reason!! When we get busy or stressed, it’s the thing that gets pushed to the side (ironically 🙃).
I was on a workshop last week with my coach, Carol Williams, and was reminded of the toll that the past three years have taken on us. She spoke of an epidemic of anxiety and I think that is true. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every aspect of our lives.
For example, many of us needed to start working from home, and by the time we mastered that, we're expected to be 100% happy to be back in the office now!
Today, politicians use the term "post-pandemic". Yet, the numbers are high and we all know people who have COVID. I, myself, tested positive a week ago but thankfully, had a very mild case. Strangely, I was really productive work wise??!! Not sure what that’s about!
Who would have ever imagined being in Lockdown or having to Quarantine in real life? These are things out of a novel or film!
Our survival instincts have helped us to keep going but it has been hard.
The point I want to make in this newsletter is that even those of us who didn’t suffer trauma of loss from COVID suffered all the same.
Many of us have a tendency to minimise our difficult experiences, especially when we witness the terrible suffering we see each day in the world.
In no way would I compare my pandemic experience with that of someone suffering now in Ukraine or Yemen or any number of places. But...it doesn’t do us any good to pretend it hasn’t been challenging and sometimes very difficult. And it’s wrong to think we aren’t affected by all we see on the news and the empathy we feel for those suffering.
So with all of this in mind, I’d like to talk a bit more about self-compassion and how we might build up that muscle a bit more.
All the best!
10 Ways to Practice Self-Compassion
Here are some tips for self compassion that I’m paraphrasing from Dani DiPirro’s blog on the wonderful Tiny Buddha website.
1. Transform your mindset.
Self-compassion starts with your thoughts. Start focusing on the fact that the behaviour/action/decision was bad, not you. Once you start labelling it rather than labelling yourself, you can begin to be kinder to yourself and be more open to making changes.
2. Speak (and think!) kindly about yourself.
Your words are incredibly powerful, and if you continuously tell yourself you’re unworthy, a mess, or unforgiveable, you’ll soon start to believe it. Start changing your words to tap into self-compassion.
If you struggle with this step, imagine talking about yourself as you would talk about your best friend.
3. Forgive yourself for your mistakes.
Let yourself make mistakes. We don’t start shouting at a friend when they say the wrong thing but in our heads we may do just that. Accept we’re only human and give ourselves a break!
Forgiveness is vital for self-compassion. We all make mistakes, but not all of us forgive ourselves for them. Depending on the mistake, this can be a very daunting task, but keep in mind that you cannot go back (no matter how badly you might want to), so the best thing to do is to choose forgiveness and forward motion.
4. Spend time doing things you truly enjoy.
We all deserve joyful, uplifting, and exciting experiences. Allowing yourself to experience true happiness—to take time from your life to do something you love—is an act of compassion.
5. Strive to avoid judgments and assumptions.
The past few years have definitely shown us it's impossible to predict what will happen in life. "When you judge yourself or make an assumption about what you will do in the future, you don’t give yourself an opportunity to choose a different path. Instead of limiting yourself, be open to all possibilities.” Be open to the future - assumptions limit us.
6. Find common ground with others.
One of the best ways to tap into self compassion is to create connections with others. When you open yourself up to others, you’ll soon see that you’re not alone. Sharing our struggles with trusted friends allows us to accept their kindness and compassion too.
7. Take care of your mind and your body.
Have you heard this one before?? Taking care of your mind and body is a top way to show compassion for yourself. Being mindful of what you consume - in what you eat and drink as well as the information you take in - is an important part of self-compassion.
As you grow more aware of what increases your energy and positive emotions it becomes easier to nourish yourself in this way. That expression ‘you are what you eat’ comes to mind and I’m finding that to be so true - sometimes from eating the wrong thing, unfortunately!
8. Pay attention to where your passion lies.
Try to spend your time doing what you enjoy - what gives you life. Is there a dream you’ve had for a new hobby, interest or even a change in career? We’ve all heard the saying ‘ life isn’t a dress rehearsal’ and self compassion is about finding and feeding our healthy passions.
9. Realize it’s not all about you.
"Rather than focusing on how we see ourselves, we often direct our attention to how we think others see us. It’s important not to do this for two reasons: (1) we don’t ever really know what others think and (2) more often than not, others aren’t thinking about you. Letting go of external validation is a very compassionate choice.”
10. Cultivate acceptance (even for your flaws).
Acceptance doesn’t mean you like all the parts. The more you focus on accepting what we can’t change, the more content you become with who you are. And as you take the focus away from self criticism and judgment, you start fostering the many gifts you do have!
And, lastly here’s a link to a 5-minute Loving Kindness Meditation for Self Compassion.
Fill Your Well
If you haven’t ordered a copy yet, my book ‘Fill Your Well: 30 Days of Resilience Journal’ will give you a lovely, gentle way to show yourself self-compassion.
As one reader said:
"Kathleen, of Invest In Yourself, offers us a wonderful opportunity to take a critical look at our lives and to embrace the challenges and changes that can often feel overwhelming with her Resilience Journal 'Fill Your Well.' Let Kathleen walk you through the various aspects of resilience with insightful quotes and thought provoking images and reflections. Self-care and resilience go hand in hand and after thirty supported steps you will be well on your way to a happier and more resilient you."
Check it out using the links below:
Saboteur Assessment: To really build up our Self Compassion Muscle it’s important to know who our internal saboteurs are. Many of us take 'one step forward and two steps backward' and our Saboteurs are generally the reason why. Our Judge tells us ‘everyone else has a worse story’ or ‘why would you spend that money on yourself?’ or even ‘you have too much to do to take 30 minutes for a walk’!
Take a few minutes to find out who your particular Saboteurs are - we all have them but the cast of characters in our profile is individual.
Click here to take the Free Assessment. and begin to really face up to what is stopping you from being self compassionate. I’m happy to have a complimentary debrief session with you when you get your report.
To find more helpful resources including podcasts, articles and more click here
Connect with me
To learn more, visit my website, Invest in Yourself here:
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