5 Things I learned from practicing Self-Compassion

Jul 25, 2021

 

When was the last time you did something that impacted your life long term? I can clearly remember when I first brought self-compassion into my life. I did one of these online courses, 50% out of curiosity for professional reasons and the other 50 % because I did not feel safe in my body. 

Back then, a Thursday evening, as I opened my laptop to sign in to zoom, my adventure with self-compassion began. The first session was comforting like a cashmere blanket. As night poured through my window, I knew that this was a new beginning.

And I should be correct. It put me in awe several times during my 8-week course and did so ever since.

Self-compassion is not a destination; it is the essential skill for a great relationship with yourself. Yes, it is a skill. And everybody got the talent to learn that skill. It is wired in our genes from the mammalian caregiving system. The talent has been delivered from our ancestors through decades.

So why not make the best out of it?

We, humans, need love and compassion to survive. "Treat and love yourself like a dear friend". Truly, when we live up to that quote, we are capable of so much more. 

You know by now that I am a raving fan of self-compassion. It gave me the tools to soothe my pain, befriend my body, quiet my inner attacks, and turn towards my deepest emotions.

What I learned along the way to heal my own heart: 

1. Self-compassion & love is our birthright. Unfortunately, it doesn't just happen. It is a process, like first date -> marriage 

To be honest. If I could get a quick fix, I wouldn't say no :) However, it turns out that patience and curiosity made a great couple when I discovered this new territory. Mindfulness is such a fun part when finding your way of doing it. I always struggled with being patient. But I am getting better and better. Surprisingly, even my mind is slowly calming down when given a chance to do so.

2. Body & mind go hand in hand, even if you haven't been in touch with yours lately 

We cannot heal or transform without a deep connection to our bodies. It won't happen without this feeling of understanding of what's going on inside—getting in contact physically and emotionally to care for us. Our biological carving is quite loud when you listen to it; it will ask for a tender touch. Our skin is hungry.

3. High expectations, "If I would just ... then ... cycle"

Nobody needs fixing. We are already fabulous, just the way we are.
I was arguing with myself about that big-time:

"Wait!! (A small panic attack sneaks in!) I just need to lose some pounds to be able to love myself fully, ok?" 

NOPE. With the tools of self-compassion, we might still have high expectations and want to achieve goals, BUT: We get rid of the cycle "to be a certain" way before we give ourselves some love. You can achieve goals with self-kindness instead of the hard, pressures "I dare you" way. For example, think about the thoughtful, friendly way to support yourself, to strengthen your aspirations to eat healthily or move your body (lose pounds).

Fixing is not what it is about. It is also not about the quick achievement of goals; it is about living my life according to my values for good. 
 

4. Life is supposed to quicken your heart more often than it hurts your heart

If it doesn't feel like a balm for your heart & soul, it is probably not self-compassion.

This was the first, the best, and the most comforting argument that made me feel safe instantly: no need to add another struggle? I was so used to do that without realizing it. I learned to rely on my inner wisdom; learned to say no to meditation or any other form of practice and binge-watch Netflix for a couple of days. I would return when I was ready because If it is a struggle, it is not self-compassion. 

 

5) What I can feel - I can heal (both, exciting & a little frightening, right? )

Not sure who came up with this rhyme, but it makes so much sense. Only when you dare to look at things and label your feelings can you start with an appropriate response. So let's be mindful and observe ourselves with an open heart. We are in this together.

Happy to be here with you.

 

Photo by content pixie Unsplash

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