During the holidays, we often find that sense of giving and the conviction to extend empathy and compassion to all of those around us. If anyone around us is hurting, we often lend a listening ear or even a shoulder to cry on. The holidays make this all that much more necessary for so many. This year, the need to give and help others will likely be an even stronger feeling. A lot of people have faced many kinds of loss and struggles with the pandemic. However, do we bother to give that same compassion to ourselves? That is called self-compassion. It sounds like you’d just be patting yourself on the back and saying “oh, it’s okay” but not really, there’s so much more to self-compassion.
When you try to practice self-compassion, you must, first, give yourself some self-kindness. That means when you do burn those cookies, don’t say mean things to yourself. Yes, everyone has that little voice inside their head. You are not completely crazy, we all have it! You MUST throw that self-judgement out the window and instead, add a smidgeon of kindness to how you talk to yourself. Finding the positivity and purpose in the mishaps is sometimes is all you need.
Next, self-compassion is using common humanity in looking at the things we do. When we fall short at a task, self-pity is usually the first place we go and say to ourselves, “I really am bad at this, no wonder that didn’t work.” Sometimes, though, we must pause and realize that everyone makes mistakes. The common adage “No one is perfect” is no less true today. I encourage you to think back at the old saying “If we were all perfect, it’d be a really boring world!” During the holiday season, remind yourself that, in fact, no person, and very few situations, are perfect. From the perspective of the holidays, packages may arrive late, the cookies may burn, and the family might argue. However, all of that is okay, we are not perfect, and neither is anyone else.
Finally, be present with your own suffering and struggles. Just pay attention to yourself. See clearly what is wrong, how that makes us feel, and what we really need to move on. Just take a minute to take some deep breaths and feel what is really going on in your body. Then, evaluate what it is that you need to pick up and move on to the next step in accomplishing whatever it is that you are in pursuit of. This is about, more than anything, not sitting there in dramatics and crying inconsolably for hours or pouting in your room. It is paying attention to what really is the cause of your current struggle and how can you move to the next point of feeling better about yourself.
Self-compassion is something that, for some of us, can take a while to get used to doing. Think about how you likely treat those around you when they are going through struggles or tough times. Do you treat yourself in the same positive way? Do you support yourself and share those same motivating things that it takes to move on past your struggles? That is what self-compassion is about. Give self-kindness, look towards common humanity, and find that bit of presence to move on from the tough times. During this holiday season, spend a little bit of time on yourself. Gift yourself that self-compassion that you so deserve.
Source: Kristin Neff, Self Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself