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The Power of Self-Compassion - and the beginning of authentic change

Self-compassion is an approach to self-care that involves treating yourself kindly, offering yourself the gentle understanding and forgiveness you might give to others.

We are all human , and as such we have common human flaws and failings, but just how much do you beat yourself up emotionally for not being good enough? How often do you overlook or easily accept others for who they are but criticise yourself heavily for the same thing.

Have you ever given compassion and understanding to someone who didn’t get the job or grade they wanted? … but when that happened to you, you felt the pain of rejection and told yourself that you just weren’t good enough for it. Then continued to use that event to reinforce the fact you weren’t good enough at life itself ?

I know from the many people I teach and support that this is such a common situation and the core belief of ‘I’m not good enough’ creates thoughts that inadvertently destroy relationships, self-esteem and see opportunities missed.

The Truth is ….we are all enough, just as we are!

When we practice self-compassion, we can create healing around the negative patterns that keep us locked in a life that makes us feel unhappy, stuck and generally unsatisfied in a life that feels like its not working for us.

I was always able to see and accept the humanness of others but expected so much more from myself. It was a great shock to me when I finally realised, I was human too, the same as everyone else! I wore the super woman cloak with pride but inside was a different story,

I was exhausted and struggling to keep up the façade. Even though on the outside it really did look like I could hold everything and everyone together without any effort at all; inside I was telling myself that I still wasn’t doing enough, I had a loop of self-talk that drove self-criticism and it was easy to find things daily to reinforce just how not enough I was.

I had learnt to be useful and reliable and although I feel this is naturally a part of my nature, the expectation to be this way all the time meant I frequently bypassed my own needs to enable me to be there for others. I really couldn’t see any other way! Over time my own needs, both physical and emotional became encased in shame, as I continued to value the approval and acceptance of others (I now see was a coping response learnt early on to keep me safe) over expressing my authenticity.

I don’t look back with resentment, don’t get me wrong helping people has always been, and still is a key part of who I am; but as time went on, I realised that I was stuck in a lonely place where how I felt, and the needs I had were never seen.

I had to take responsibility for my part in this, I had convinced people it was ok, for them to expect me to forfeit myself for them, but now I realised that I too deserved some slack! I had to really consider my own feelings and that It didn’t make me a bad person or selfish just because I didn’t always do what others wanted me to (even though it felt like that!). It was ok to want time to myself, or just say no, with no explanation needed to prove my need more important than theirs

Here is a warning though! – people who benefited from my lack of personal boundaries did not like me changing the way I was! I lost family and friends on my journey to live more authentically

Self-compassion was where it all had to start – I could not expect others to change, I had to accept and let go of the old ways and forgive myself for the situation I found myself in – literally had to remind myself that I was enough just the way I was!

Ways to implement self-compassion

1. Reduce negative self-talk – start telling yourself that you are enough!

2. Find solutions that work for you – you can make suggestions, or just say no.

3. Learn to sit with uncomfortable emotions – they will soon pass!

4. Improve your self-care – learn what you need and what makes you happy.

5. Allow toxic relationships to leave you (not everyone is going to like the changes you are making) and welcome new healthier relationships in.

The pressure of not having to be ‘prefect’ (or hide the fact I wasn’t!) finally lifted and although being super woman wasn’t all bad, making choices based on my needs at the time and not just the needs of others was life changing. I had learnt, very early on, to look beyond the flaws of others but now I can do that for myself too.

How self-compassion can help you heal

1. People who are self-compassionate tend to be less critical of themselves and this helps to decrease anxiety and low mood and increase self-esteem (how we feel about ourselves).

2. Self-compassion helps people cope with stress and adversity and find positive solutions to problems. Studies have found self-compassion is linked with greater resilience and a greater over all sense of wellbeing.

3. People Who practice self-compassion develop greater emotional regulation skills, which help to manage stress and overwhelming emotions.

4. Self-compassion leads to improved self-care and as you realise your worth there is more motivation and energy to engage authentically with others.

5. Self-compassionate humans tend to have more positive relationships with others and can extend the same compassion to others leading to deeper connections.

I have come to realise that we are whole only when we can see and accept our ‘flaws’ with compassion.

When we embrace our wholeness we become as perfect as we can be! Allowing ourselves to be whole means we can connect to our authentic selves without fear, and we no longer have to sacrifice our true nature to earn connection from others.

To learn more about yourself and how to make simple changes which can change your life take a look at the services I offer WWW.LynneJones.Org

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