Are you your own best friend?
Or is the relationship more… complicated?
Self-compassion frequently is not our go-to resource as we’re working toward change.
In fact, it might even seem at odds with pursuing our goals.
Even if being kinder to ourselves sounds like a good idea, self-compassion might seem like it’s too soft or “touchy-feely.”
The heavy lifting of working through anxiety, depression, or the traumatic pieces of our backstory should be hard work, right?
The thing is, you already have a box of tools that you’re pretty good at using when you’re struggling or failing to live up to your own ideals.
- Harsh self-talk
Why add something else to the mix?
The problem is that these methods are frequently ineffective.
They are more likely to get in the way, derail us and demotivate us from pursuing our goals.
But doesn’t everybody do it?
Well, certainly a lot of us are using self-criticism as a way of trying to motivate ourselves.
But just because it’s common doesn’t mean that it’s helpful or effective.
Self-criticism is a predictor of many of the concerns that bring people to therapy in the first place more often than it is solution.
So, what is self-compassion, exactly?
It’s pretty simple (or maybe I should say that the explanation is simple).
Paying attention to, and being moved by, suffering.
Being motivated to help relieve that suffering.
You might already be good at this…
– at least when it comes to the suffering of other people.
But did you know that this kind of attentive care and concern can also be extended toward ourselves?
Unfortunately, when we’re the ones struggling, in pain, or feeling vulnerable, instead of supporting ourselves, our go-to strategies are often judging, criticizing, numbing, or distracting.
We have so much practice being at war with ourselves.
Learning new, more helpful ways of relating to ourselves takes practice.
But the really good news is, when it comes to our relationship with ourselves, we really do have a considerable amount of influence. In fact, there might not be any other relationship where we have so much power to make real and lasting change.
Most people aren’t showing up in my office because they want to be kinder to themselves. More often, depression and anxiety are getting in the way of them fully enjoying life, unresolved trauma is intruding on the present, or there are recurring patterns that keep them from being the partners and friends that they really want to be.
But regardless of what we’re working on, how we relate to ourselves matters. Powerful things happen when my clients learn to adopt a more compassionate stance toward themselves, and they see lasting change in places where they were always getting stuck.
If you’re ready to take a break from the self-criticism and learn to start being kinder to yourself,
call me at (615) 823-0701.