In Monday’s post I talked about having more compassion – for myself and for others. And as the week went on I have to say, I did better than I would have expected.
What exactly does self-compassion look like? Well for me, it means not beating myself up over every. little. thing. Take for example, earlier this week. I’ve talked about how I’m struggling to adapt to the work load for the class I’m taking, and how I’m finding it hard to make time for, well, anything other than work, school, and running. That means some things have started to suffer (like this blog). I didn’t get a chance to post as usual on Wednesday. Now, I could get into the weeds about how I’m a poor time manager and really need to start getting my shit together. Or I could be gentle with myself. Talk to myself the way I would talk to a friend having a stressful week.
“Hey, it’s ok. It really is ok. If you miss Wednesday’s post, no one will die. Sure, it may not be perfect, or even ideal, but that is ok. You’re doing a lot, juggling a huge load. Be kind to yourself, and just do the best you can.”
Another example: on Wednesday morning I was rushing to get out of the house (running late, as usual). I put a coffee cup in the sink and my heart sank at how many dirty dishes were piled up. Now here is what a typical thought pattern would look like in that scenario: “Omg I can’t even keep my house clean what is wrong with me? I’m leaning way too much on Tom, he’s doing too much of the housework and I feel guilty. Why can’t you wake up earlier to empty the dishwasher and clean your kitchen and scrub your bathroom and vacuum your living room? You’re lazy, you shouldn’t be so tired.”
But good news! I did NOT go down that path. Instead, I took the talk-to-yourself-as-if-you’re-talking-to-a-friend approach: “Hey, lady, calm down! Take a deep breath. You are not a failure at life because you don’t have time to unload the dishwasher right now. And you are not lazy! You got up early to run seven miles this morning – would you call that lazy?! You are doing the best you can. And just because it doesn’t look as perfect as you want it to, doesn’t mean it isn’t great! Who cares about dirty dishes. There are more important things. You’ll find a time to do them, and if you don’t, that’s ok too.”
Another example: my homework. Our final project is due Tuesday (can you believe how quickly it’s passed?!) and I was working on some drawings for class yesterday. I messed up one part, and instead of berating myself and dwelling on how it didn’t look perfect anymore, I thought, “So what. You’ll have to do a final drawing anyway. Don’t waste one second worrying about this. Onto the next thing.”
So this is what practicing self-compassion looks like for me. It’s not easy. But it’s been in the forefront of my mind since I made it an actual goal to be kinder to myself. It goes against a lot of my instincts (all-or-nothing-thinking, self-doubt) but those are the things I want to change and so here is what that looks like.
I’m curious, how do you practice self-compassion? Do you struggle like I do?
Ok now that all the feeling-stuff is over, I hope you all have a happy Friday loves, and a wonderful weekend!!