Published on January 11th, 2021 | by Nancy F. Clark0
How To Cultivate Self-Compassion For Success
By Sarah Jeanne Browne—
“I found in my research that the biggest reason people aren’t more self- compassionate is that they are afraid they’ll become self-indulgent. They believe self-criticism is what keeps them in line. Most people have gotten it wrong because our culture says being hard on yourself is the way to be.” —Dr. Kristin Neff
What Is Self-Compassion?
Self-compassion is about listening to your needs and knowing what you deserve and honoring that. It’s about embracing who you are in this moment and being your most authentic self. It’s about leaving shame behind so you can succeed. And it’s about being kind to yourself and loving yourself unconditionally.
Positive Psychology suggests that research shows although people value belonging, above all, they value their relationship with themselves. However, being self-compassionate doesn’t come naturally to everyone. In fact, most people find it difficult to see the positive qualities in themselves. It is difficult for many to see themselves as good, worthy, enough, deserving of happiness and difficult to allow themselves to be human. The inner critic shouts the loudest. But it does not have to have the final say. You do. You have more power than you know. It’s time to step into it. Recenter yourself and reclaim the narrative of your life.
There are 3 ways to cultivate self-compassion for success:
1) Give Yourself Grace
“The butterfly does not look back at the caterpillar in shame.” —Anthony Gucciardi
It’s time to be gentle with yourself and give yourself grace. Grace when you fall down. Grace when you want to give up. Grace when you can only see your imperfections. Grace when you feel at your worst. That’s when you need it most.
Grace is for when you need to take a break. This type of self-care is about resting, not quitting. Schedule time for yourself. This is about you, not what the world wants from you. Do what feels good for the soul.
Grace is also about self-forgiveness. Forgive yourself for not knowing before what you do now. For being imperfect.
It’s not about perfection. It’s about progress. You don’t have to have it all together to be worthy. The world is not going to stop, sure, but that doesn’t mean you have to run like a machine. Let yourself feel, let yourself find out who you are. Nurture your needs.
When you give yourself grace, you must stop using the phrase, “I should be doing __.” This is because “Shoulding Yourself” is a type of negative self talk and a term coined by psychologist Clayton Barbeau. It’s when you judge where you are with where you think you should be. What you say to yourself matters, and if you’re constantly “shoulding” yourself, you’re actually saying all that you are not. This diminishes your self worth and makes it harder to achieve your goals. If you want to help yourself, accept who you are and where you are so you can make the most of it. It’s okay to have a preference as to will happen, but it’s not always productive to only think of yourself as that goal or attainment.
Expect some setbacks. And know your comeback will surpass the struggles you have faced. Grace will give you back to yourself; and help you realize you’re not alone. We all could use a little grace.
2) Positive Self-Talk
“Don’t believe everything you think.” —Unknown
Positive self-talk is a type of self-care you can give yourself, just by choosing your thoughts. That means when you are having negative thoughts, you can choose to think the opposite of them. Instead of, “I will never be able to do this,” think about the ways you can adapt and grow through problem solving. Say, “I will use what I have to do what I can.” This is how you regain control. For many, this seems easier said than done.
Assess where those negative thoughts are coming from. Pick out some patterns. Rather than react to your negative thoughts, you can replace them over time.
Turn to positive self-talk rather than trying to be perfect. You don’t have to punish yourself to get better results. Instead, respect yourself. Talk to yourself as you would your best friend—with kindness. Hold space for yourself too because you deserve nonjudgment and support. You matter.
Create some positive affirmations, and make them specific and purposeful. Make them powerful. Here is one to start with, in a battle of “enoughness,” and not feeling like you are enough, simply say:
“I am enough.”
The more you say it or write it, the more you will feel it, believe it, embody it. That is true of all positive affirmations, and it changes the way you care for yourself. Come up with a list of affirmations that can assist you using “I am” statements. Say also,
“I accept the self-compassion I am giving myself and the healing.”
Then, when you get a chance, as Shauna Shapiro says in her Ted Talk, “The Power of Mindfulness: What You Practice Grows Stronger” you should look yourself in the mirror each day, hand on your heart and say,
“I love you.”
Meditate on these mantras daily and see yourself transform. You may have to build up to believing in them. But if all you do is intend it, you become powerful. Self-love is the real success.
3) Be Open To Vulnerable Emotions
“I gave myself care when I wanted destruction and that is when my healing began.” —Juansen Dizon
How are you really? It’s time to ask that question, and know it is okay to be not okay. Keep a log of your emotions, rating your mood daily and feel free to share with someone you trust like a professional. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. In doing so, you may have to face your vulnerability.
Vulnerability does not make you weak. It makes you wise. You can try the RAIN technique or a meditation and mindfulness tool in how you relate to your emotions.
Here are the 4 steps briefly in RAIN:
1. R Recognize what is happening
2. A Allow life to be just as it is
3. I Investigate inner experience
4. N Non-Identification
Vulnerability requires the elements of acceptance and non-judgment toward your emotions when utilizing RAIN. Recognize what is happening in you and your emotions or “Name it to Tame It.” You must label what you feel to process it. This is about emotional acceptance and giving yourself kindness in the process. Whatever you are feeling, there is more to you than that. Non-identification is when you don’t identify with a feeling but learn to reason with more rationality. It’s easy to engage in emotional reasoning, a common cognitive distortion where you over-identify with emotions. Reality may be different than what you perceive. Your brain may be lying to you if you over-identify, especially if you are feeling negatively and think the feeling you have is all there is. It’s best to get other types of evidence. When you’re overwhelmed, train your brain with RAIN. Then, you can start to heal. Remember you are worth it.
Invest In Self-Care For Your Success
Cultivating self-compassion is investing in self-care, using the above three steps as guidelines. When you give yourself grace, ground yourself with positive self talk and stay open to vulnerability, you are giving yourself the kindness you deserve. When you love yourself, you invite self-expansion and contentment in your life. Then, you can be at your best. If you want to find success, find yourself. Self-compassion is a tool that can be used by anyone, anytime for anything. Use it today, and see what it can do for you.
Sarah Jeanne Browne is a speaker, writer and activist who has been published on Lifehack, Tiny Buddha, Thrive Global and more. See @sarahjbrowne.