“Feeling compassion for ourselves in no way releases us from responsibility for our actions. Rather, it releases us from the self-hatred that prevents us from responding to our life with clarity and balance.” Tara Brach
You spill the cup of coffee you just brewed and it splashes over your clothing leaving a nice brown stain. What are you saying to yourself?
What do you say to yourself when you don’t meet your expectations, when you are late, when you say something you shouldn’t, when you forget an important meeting, when you oversleep or when you get a speeding ticket? What are you telling yourself?
Many people find that their message to themselves upon any unmet expectation is filled with insults and derision that would never be heard by someone else. People become their own worst enemy and call themselves names that only reduce their ability to succeed. Some people believe telling themselves that they are “not good enough” as a way to motivate themselves to better results and often it only yields more of that same message … “you’re not good enough”. Before long that becomes their internal truth and all they do by yelling at themselves is provide confirmation that they aren’t living up to the world’s standards or their own. If they are “not good enough” then that means people around them aren’t good enough either and it sours those relationships as well.
What do you tell yourself when you don’t meet your own expectations?
What if you could tell yourself a different message? You can. New research is being done in the area of self-compassion. It might be worth reading about or learning more about. Practicing self-compassion just means that things can go wrong and that it is OK.
You can change what you tell yourself when things don’t go exactly as planned. Instead of beating yourself up, try this just say it to yourself:
“This is a moment of suffering.
Suffering is part of my life.
May I be kind to myself in this moment.
May I give myself the compassion I need.” (From Self-Compassion by Kristin Neff)
Just repeat those lines and practice it for a week. See if you can notice a difference. Go ahead every time you are ready to condemn yourself say those lines above instead.
To hear more about self-compassion listen to this video: