A while back, a friend sent me an article she thought I might be interested in. It still stands out in my mind.
It was from the New York Times, in the Health section, written by Tara Parker-Pope, entitled “Go Easy on Yourself, A New Wave of Research Urges”.
The article talked about self-compassion as a critical ingredient needed for happiness, self-esteem, easy weight loss, and just about everything we all wish for in our vision of a good life.
It cites research from the recently released book, The Self-Compassion Diet, by Jean Fain.
So, what is self-compassion?
Well, you know the old Golden Rule? Always treats others as you want to be treated yourself.
This is a modification of that rule: Always treat yourself as well as you treat others.
It may be, for many of us, the missing ingredient in getting ourselves to reach our goals.
As I read through the article and the many comments it sparked, I noticed how many people felt that self-compassion was something we had enough of. Time to toughen up and do what you need to do.
But others disagreed.
One of the comments on this article was from a woman who said: “No one in the world hates me more than I hate myself”.
So let me ask you: If you make a mistake, do you berate yourself before moving on and correcting the mistake?
Are you afraid you’ll be a worse mother, a heavier woman, a less efficient worker if you are nice to yourself?
What is self-compassion?
- It’s seeing yourself without judgment, without disappointment or disapproval.
- It’s seeing your true self with clarity and honesty, and still feeling love for yourself.
- It’s being able to accept flaws in yourself without condemning.
If self-compassion feels so good, why even debate it?
Why don’t we all have busloads of self-compassion all the time?
It’s because we fear that if we aren’t harsh and critical, we’ll just go off the deep end.
Become a total sloth.
Gain 50 pounds.
Lose all our motivation.
But here’s the deal: Being compassionate toward yourself is not the same as feeling sorry for yourself. Feeling sorry for yourself keeps you stuck. Feeling compassion is like putting a cozy blanket of comfort around you, and saying, ‘You’re ok’.
It doesn’t hold us back from our best work, or from our best self, or from our best habits.
It fills our cups, letting us move forward.
It’s always easier and feels better when we move from a place of love, and understanding.
Not needing to fill ourselves up with things that don’t quite do the trick.
Like brownies, when you’re lonely.
And chips when you’re overwhelmed.
So, what’s the trick to feeling self-compassion?
- When something goes wrong, pretend that your most beloved friend was responsible, instead of you. How would you talk to her?
- When you are doing something that isn’t in your best interests, rise above the scene. Look down at yourself on the ground. And remind yourself of your big game plan.
- When things aren’t perfect, remind yourself that you’re not alone. We’re all human, we’re all in this together, and we certainly all screw up. So there.
Sounds good to me.