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Go easy on yourself!

Lately, in conversations with friends, colleagues and clients, I'm hearing a lot of talk about themselves that includes things they should have done, should be doing, wish they could do more of but can't, and a whole lot of other things, all finding fault with themselves.

They find fault for numerous reasons:

  • comparing themselves to others

  • other people's expectations of them

  • expectations of themselves

  • society and it's expectations

What strikes me the most is that these individuals are all doing the best they can given their circumstances. Some are dealing with new experiences or a change in circumstances, some of dealing with things beyond their control, others are dealing with loss. The one thing they all have in common is that they are people I admire.

Self-criticism means that they beat themselves up with their thoughts and the various emotions attached to this such as guilt, shame, anger, anxiety and frustration, but if the shoes were on the other foot, they would do their utmost to reassure someone else that they were doing the best they could and that it was ok.

Many of these individuals are some of the kindest, hardworking, compassionate people I know.

Sometimes we are triggered by a previous experience, sometimes we are trying something new, sometimes we have a belief that we aren't good enough. No matter the reason, self-compassion is vital to help build resilience and brings about a sense of peace, as well as enhancing your self-esteem and overall well-being.

Self-compassion helps us to navigate life's challenges with greater ease and less stress. In practising this, you are less likely to experience the unpleasant emotions and more likely to experience pleasant ones such as happiness and gratitude.

When you experience a set back or failure, self-compassion helps us to bounce back quicker by showing yourself kindness and understanding instead of getting stuck in self-doubt and negative self-talk.

When you treat yourself with kindness and understanding, you start to see yourself as worthy of love and respect and this can help you to build more fulfilling relationships with others and help you gain greater confidence when meeting your goals.

While I hate saying the coachy stuff such as "it can create a more positive and fulfilling life", it's true.

So how do you do it?

For a start treat yourself like you would a friend who is having the problem e.g. it's ok that I didn't quite manage to tidy the house today as planned. You can even reason it out with the facts of the events of the day such as I was tired or I got home later than expected or even "I just didn't feel like it".

When that inner critic starts, challenge it. Ask if what you are really telling yourself true. Ask if what you are telling yourself is an actual fact. If it is then try to find a more compassionate and realistic way to look at the situation. If you feel safe discussing what the inner critic is saying with a trusted friend, they may also help you find a more compassionate way to look at the situation.

When that inner critic is being negative, try to focus on what went well in the day or what is going well in life. We all have setbacks and that's ok.

It's also worth pointing out that not everything we tell ourselves is true, especially when we get caught in a negative thought pattern.

And I'm gong to end this blog as I normally do and suggest that If you're struggling to show yourself some compassion and can't seem to find a way out of beating yourself up on a regular basis, have a think about going to see someone. Be it a counsellor or a life coach.

Sometimes the things we refuse to see in ourselves are often very visible to others.


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