Starting From Where You Are
There is a great quote by Martin Luther King Jr. that says “If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.”
This past month, we’ve focused on how positive thinking affects the brain and how to think more positively and stay motivated. Today I want to touch on self-compassion.The best way that I’ve been able to describe self-compassion is this: Using the compassion that you use with others towards yourself. If you had a friend or a family member who was going through the same issues as you are, would you treat them the way you treat yourself? Would you say the things to them that you say to yourself? For most of us, the answer is no. We tend to hold ourselves to a higher standard than others. This isn’t a bad thing, in fact it can be a very good thing. It can help psiphon apk you become successful and help you become a better person. It can, however, become a problem when we decide that because we have not reached these higher standards it somehow impacts our worth.
Some may think that self-compassion is making excuses for behavior. For example, “well I wasn’t feeling good so I yelled at my significant other, but it’s okay because I was having a bad day.” This is not self-compassion. In fact, if you were using self-compassion, you might not have yelled at your significant other in the first place. Self-compassion is admitting you are feeling a certain way, realizing that you are not the only one suffering, accepting that, and moving forward.
This video discusses self-compassion. It is 20 minutes long, so I wrote out some of the highlights, but I highly recommend that you watch it because Kristin Neff explains it way better than I ever could. Kristin Neff-Self Compassion
According to Kristin Neff, Self compassion has 3 components:
- Self Kindness- treating yourself like you would a good friend. We say things to ourselves that we probably wouldn’t say to someone we didn’t even like that much, so why are we saying it to ourselves?
- Common Humanity- Instead of comparing yourself to others and asking “how am I different than others?” ask yourself “how am I the same?” To be human means to be imperfect and to have hard days. That is the shared human experience. For some reason, however, we think that we should be perfect and that we are isolated in our imperfections and suffering.
- Mindfulness- Being with what is in the present moment. We need to accept that we are suffering so that we can give ourselves compassion. A lot of times we are not aware that we are suffering especially if we are suffering due to our own criticism.
Top reason why we self criticize:
- Motivation- we believe that if we don’t criticize ourselves we will become lazy. Research shows the opposite. When we criticize ourselves, we release cortisol, which increases our stress. Our bodies then shut down to deal with all the stress. When we show ourselves self-compassion, however, cortisol decreases and oxytocin and opiates (feel good hormones).
Studies have shown that self-compassion is directly related to mental well-being. It significantly reduces stress, depression, anxiety, and perfectionism.
People think that self-compassion is self indulgent or selfish, it’s not. The more we keep our hearts open to ourselves, the more we have available to give to others.
The reason I’m talking about self-compassion is because it’s easy to look at where we are in life and get upset. It’s easy to get down on yourself and tell yourself you aren’t worth anything. Whether it’s you struggling to think positively or struggling to reach any of your goals, it’s important to not talk destructively to yourself. No one is perfect, and you are always going to make mistakes as you try to change your mind set or reach goals. That’s just part of the human experience.
So, start from where you are. Don’t expect to reach your high goals in a couple of days. It is going to take time. It’s going to be a struggle. If you can only crawl right now, then crawl until you can walk and so on. Accept where you are and work with yourself. Be kind to yourself. Celebrate little victories. Degrading yourself only makes it harder for you to accomplish your goals.
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