The Art of Being Kind to Yourself
Have you ever thought about how you talk to yourself? Being kind to yourself is an art, a skill that takes practice! Every day people tell you to do self-care, but what about the way you talk to yourself? Do you beat yourself up or are you kind to yourself?
If you haven’t heard of self-compassion, and most people haven’t, I think you’re going to be pleasantly surprised by what you learn.
Below is the podcast version of this post! It has a ton of examples and lots more explanation. Podcasts are the best, aren’t they? Enjoy!
If you’d like to subscribe to the podcast, go to the podcast app you use and type “Balanced Working Moms” into the search.
I Say THAT To Myself?! Ouch.
I first heard about self-compassion when I signed up for a week-long class at the Omega Institute. I had no idea what the concept meant, but the class description was so interesting, I wanted to learn more!
I learned so much, it literally changed my life. Before the class, I never noticed how I talked to myself. Once I started paying attention, it wasn’t pretty. I couldn’t believe the things I’d say to myself. These are things I wouldn’t say to my worst enemy! Yet I was saying to them to myself all the time. Ouch.
Start tracking how you talk to yourself with this fun tracking sheet! The first part of self-compassion is to NOTICE! Download the sheet and start noticing your thoughts. Click here to join the resource library.
What is Self-Compassion?
I love how my teachers defined self-compassion since it was such an easy way for me to understand it.
It’s simply treating ourselves like we would treat a good friend.
That sounds so basic, doesn’t it?
Why do we treat ourselves so terribly? It’s never made any sense to me. Yet we all do it. If we mess up in the smallest way, we beat ourselves like we’ve done the worst crime. If our best friend had made the same mistake, we would comfort her, tell her it’s okay. We certainly would NOT beat her up when she’s already down! Yet we do this to ourselves all the time.
Homework – Free Printable
So often, we don’t even notice how we talk to ourselves. I’m going to give you some homework today.
I want you to start noticing how you talk to yourself.
Part of the problem is that we aren’t even aware we’re doing this. We’re so used to saying these things that we don’t even notice what we’re doing.
Your homework ist to pay attention. What are you saying to yourself? Would you EVER say these things to your bestie?
To make this easier and more fun, I have a free printable sheet for you to record your thoughts.
Step 1 – Notice
With this homework assignment, I’m actually teaching you the first step towards self-compassion. Step 1 is to notice.
Kristin Neff, in her book Self-Compassion, explains that to have self-compassion, we first need to NOTICE our own suffering. If we don’t even notice or acknowledge it exists, we can’t use the tool I’m about to teach you. So step 1 is to notice!
This is a harder step than it sounds. Hense the homework, my friend! We’re so trained NOT to notice. We’re trained to eat when we feel an emotion. To go on social media. To do anything BUT notice. So even if you do just this one step, you’ve made a ton of advancement towards self-compassion.
Step 2 – Allow the Feeling
In my opinion, this step is the hardest part of the process. If you’re not there yet, it’s okay. If you can just do step 1, you’re making so much progress. I’m proud of you and you should be proud of yourself.
Note that you should be careful with this step. Don’t start with a very difficult or traumatic event. Start slowly. Ease your way in with a small hurt so you can learn the process and slowly get there.
Let me explain what I mean by allowing the feeling.
In our society today, there are more ways to mask feeling bad than any other time in history.
Some people may eat something yummy. Others may have a drink. Others may try to forget, most of us will go on our phone or watch something to avoid that feeling of discomfort.
Because it feels really icky.
But the truth is, what you resist, persists.
So the more you resist that icky feeling, the more likely it is to stay there and get bigger and bigger while you’re busy avoiding it.
Anything in life we resist just comes back again and again and again. When we allow it and say “it’s okay for you to be here,” that’s only when it can go away. The feeling just wanted to be heard, that’s all. It was there for a reason.
Step 3 – Talk to Yourself With Compassion
Once you feel the pain, the next step is to talk to yourself with compassion, as you’d talk to a good friend who is going through something difficult.
This will look different for each person.
For me, this may be a meditation. In the class, we learned to do Loving Kindness meditations. I may touch my heart and just breathe. I may say something kind to myself. I may create an affirmation to repeat each time I think about the situation.
For you, it can be anything. We’re all different.
Having Compassion for Yourself
Do you see how walking yourself through these three staged can change everything? It can change how you process pain. It can change how you see yourself. It can change how you relate to others.
And the secret is that once you build more compassion for yourself, it’s so much easier to have compassion for others.