How do you feel about the relationship you have with yourself, that voice inside your head that feeds you an endless commentary about what you do right, or wrong, how you look and sound and how you react to situations? Do you have a positive supportive nurturing relationship with this voice or is it your worst critic?
When you make a conscious decision to be more curious about your experiences, actions and feelings, you will naturally begin to stop resisting, judging, and criticising yourself. Studies have shown that if you practice exploring these moments with curiosity, the more you will be able to embrace yourself with compassion. The next time you notice you are criticising or judging yourself, try to step back, observe yourself with curiosity, warmth and kindness to shift your focus.
What are you feeling in that moment?
What are your feelings trying to communicate to you?
What would happen if instead of trying to fix, or judge yourself for having those emotions or reactions, instead, you allowed whatever it is you are thinking or feeling to have its moment. Instead of trying to suppress the feeling you treated it as a passing acquaintance, not giving it centre stage, labelling it nor hiding it away. Simply acknowledging it as an emotion, a separate entity to you and then giving it permission to quietly leave?
Mindfulness teaches us to be present with difficult emotions, and self-compassion helps us to respond to these emotions with greater kindness and self-care. Having compassion for yourself means that you are honouring and accepting your humanity. Things will not always go the way you want, and we know that the roller coaster ride of life will bring frustrations and losses, mistakes will be made, and invariably we all fall short of our ideals. This is the reality of the human condition, a reality shared by all of us.
Becoming mindful of the difficult emotions that arise and forgiving oneself are great starters to mindful self-compassion. Instead of allowing that inner critic to continue to mercilessly judge and criticize, self-compassion means we are kind and understanding when confronted with an idea, feeling or reaction that doesn't match up to our often impossibly perfect standards.
And finally, it is truly liberating to allow ourselves the freedom and space to be imperfectly perfect, being kind and compassionate to ourselves and others when our humanity shines through and being grateful for the opportunity to err and try again.
Written by Rossy Champion 2018