The Four Keys to Self-Compassion
- The first key to self-compassion is realizing that if we are feeling sorry for ourselves we will not generate self-compassion. We need to step out of victim consciousness where we give our power away and then blame and resent others for not “taking care of us” or not meeting our needs. Or alternately we blame, judge, criticize, condemn, shame and “guilt” ourselves. Life is challenging , most of it not in our control. When we can let go of the illusion of control and accept that we are doing the best we can then we can be more kind and compassionate with ourselves.
- The second key is to stop comparing yourself to anyone else. Whenever we start comparing we are judging and criticizing others, and then we inevitably end judging and criticizing ourselves where we don’t “measure up”. When we are harsh with ourselves, or others (any judgment and self-criticism are destructive), we put ourselves in an emotionally painful, vulnerable place.
- Third: The “heart” of self-compassion is that we all need acceptance, love, tenderness and compassion. We need to develop a daily, lifelong practice of being kind to ourselves, forgiving and compassionate to ourselves. This involves self-talk that is gentle and kind (the way we talk to our best friend, or our child if they were hurting, stung by the criticism or rejection of others, or experiencing shame).
- Fourth: Feel it. Most of us just numb our feelings and as a result, don’t allow ourselves to feel the effect of others’ behavior and words or are so conditioned and numb to our own internal judgments and criticisms. When we feel the feelings, feel the effect of destructive behaviors and words-only then can we bring compassion, tenderness, kindness and compassion to/for ourselves.
At the core of transforming from victim consciousness to authentic consciousness is truly accepting that you are “enough.” By definition, enough implies that nothing more can or needs to be added. In our seminars and coaching we always work on this core issue, knowing that with accepting that we are enough, we can use our power to live constructively (vs. the destructiveness of victim consciousness). It is only then that WE work to meet our needs instead of relying on others to do so. Self-compassion and self-love are the antidotes necessary to change any negative beliefs about ourselves.
For an excellent book that will get you back on track consider The Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook: A Proven Way to Accept Yourself, Build Inner Strength and Thrive by Kristen Neff and Christopher Germer.