Grumpy mornings. Pushed deadlines. Missed texts. Unreturned voicemails. Getting sick. Feeling tired. Spilling. Breaking. Breaking down. These are all normal human experiences. As I noted earlier, having compassion for yourself means that you honor and accept your humanness. Yes. You are not, in fact, Wonder Woman. Or Supergirl. Nor do you have to be perfect. You are human and it is okay to acknowledge it. In fact, it’s one of the best things you can do for yourself.
Self-Compassion is a Gift to Yourself
It is not always easy to grant yourself permission to be human. As women, who are often conditioned from a young age to care for others. So, we often forget about our own needs or our own humanness. We push that down deep inside ourselves. But, why? We matter!
Being able to give yourself permission to be human is a gift. After all, no one expects you to be perfect all the time. So, stop holding yourself to unattainable standards and embrace the messiness of life. Own your shortcomings and struggles, they’re what makes you unique and interesting. Even when they make life hard, give yourself a little grace and kindness. Forgive yourself and move forward.
Building a Practice of Self-Compassion
We’ve talked about a lot of hard things in the last year, or so. Perfectionism, mindfulness, journaling, morning routines, afternoon habits, sleep hygiene. However, there is also a benefit to having a practice of self-compassion in your life. In fact, I might argue that self-compassion is one of the more important aspects of life.
Three Main Elements of Self-Compassion
1. Self-kindness vs. Self-judgment
2. Common humanity vs. Isolation
3. Mindfulness vs. Over-identification
But, what does this look like in everyday life? Let’s break it down:
Self-kindness vs. Self-judgment
When you’re disappointed in yourself or in your situation, do you begin to judge yourself? For example, when your kid gets hurt do you think about how you could have prevented it and berate yourself for not paying enough attention? Or do you tell yourself that kids will be kids and are kind of professional danger seekers?
When you practice self-compassion you will realize that bumps in the road such as mistakes and accidents happen. But, instead of ignoring getting down on yourself and either chastising yourself for your shortcomings or ignoring them altogether, you extend yourself some gentile kindness and understanding. Furthermore, it reminds us that life doesn’t always give us what we want, and that’s okay. When you stop fighting against the things you don’t want, you will find you have the energy to put forward in making positive changes in your life.
Common Humanity vs. Isolation
I think the theme song of the TV show, FRIENDS, is a great example of this element of self-compassion.
So no one told you life was gonna be this way
Your job’s a joke, you’re broke
Your love life’s DOA
It’s like you’re always stuck in second gear
When it hasn’t been your day, your week, your month
Or even your year…
As I am writing I am thinking about the lyrics to this song and it hit me, I can’t think of an episode where everything went right for all the characters. I’m instantly reminded of the time Rachel made a meat trifle for a thanksgiving dessert because she read the wrong recipe, the time Ross said the wrong name during his wedding vows when Joey accidentally proposes to Rachel, and Pheobe’s wedding where literally everything went wrong. In almost every episode something goes wrong for someone. This show depicts the true humanity of life. The messiness and the imperfections. But it also shows the resilience, happiness, and humor that can result from these tough times.
Sometimes, when our life isn’t going the way we want it to, then we can feel really isolated. Like we’re the only one who is going through a tough time. Even though it’s kind of irrational, it can use major distress, which over time can really wear on you. But, if you choose to practice self-compassion you’re reminded that tough times are a part of life. Suffering is what makes us human. So, it can help you not feel so alone which can be a nice reprieve from your dark thoughts. After some time of practicing self-compassion, you may find that the dark times don’t last as long and you’re able to see through these challenging and isolating times to find the good that is buried underneath.
Mindfulness vs. Over-identification
A part of self-compassion is practiced through mindfulness and being aware of your negative emotions. But, instead of repressing them or ignoring them, you allow them to come to the front of your mind. This gives you the chance to deal with them and move past them.
This principle is especially powerful when you’re feeling very reactive or on-edge. Like when you’re so upset with your spouse that you’re worried you’ll say something you regret. Or when you’re so angry at your boss that you really want to send an email announcing you’re quitting. Instead of doing these things, you will know how to pause and examine your thoughts and feelings. Give them space and room to exist without trying to push them away or change them. What you’ll find is that their power and hold over you lessen in time and you’ll feel better.
With a practice of self-compassion, you are more able to combat the anxiety and perfectionist tendencies that can so often be guiding your day(s). Think of all of the brain space that frees you up to do the things that bring you joy. The magic you have to share with the world. When we can spend less time in our worried, anxious thoughts, we are able to do more good overall.
If you’re struggling to offer yourself some compassion, then I encourage you to reach out to a therapist and get some support. A therapist can help you figure out what’s keeping you from being kind to yourself and practicing self-compassion. Then, they can share with you some exercises to help you learn to be more self-compassionate.
Begin Self-Compassion Counseling for Women in Miramar, FL or Start Online Therapy in Florida
If you want more support with healthy habits to support your mental and physical wellbeing, I would love to talk with you! As a therapist in Broward County, Florida, I specialize in working with high-achieving women who deal with anxiety, imposter syndrome, and so much more. Let’s get started, wherever you are in the state, with online therapy in Florida. All you have to do is follow these three steps:
Contact Counseling Solutions of Boward to schedule your free 20-minute consultation on a video platform,
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Other Therapy Services Offered at Counseling Solutions of Broward
In addition to providing online therapy in Florida, including perfectionism and codependency treatment for women, Enid De Jesus offers a variety of mental health services at her counseling clinic in Broward County, FL. Her goal is to create lasting transformative change and growth in your life. So, she offers anxiety treatment, depression treatment, counseling for imposter syndrome, after divorce counseling, and relationship counseling for one. For more information on counseling, please check out her what to expect page or contact her counseling office.