Hello and welcome back to the Therapy Spot! Time sure has flown — we’re more than halfway through the Year of Self Compassion. Since we began this journey, I’ve found that the more I talk about it, the more I have to say. That’s why I’ve decided to reissue one of my earlier podcasts about Self Compassion. After all, Self Compassion is the antidote to feelings like self criticism, doubt, and unhappiness. Don’t feel bad if this practice doesn’t come naturally to you! Let’s focus on the practice, and how to increase our Self Compassion.
This podcast — which I like to think of as “Self Compassion 101” — is for anyone who:
- Habitually puts everyone else first
- Holds themselves to high expectations, and feels disappointed or angry when they fall short of the goal
- Compares themselves to others, leading to feelings of inadequacy
- Has a strong people-pleasing part
- Experiences feelings of guilt when they do practice Self love or compassion
Remember: love is good, healthy, and real. While all forms of love are important and beneficial, caring for yourself is the ultimate love. I say this because those who practice Self compassion have lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and higher “emotional intelligence.” They also experience fewer negative emotions! Let’s explore a little deeper.
The Benefits of Self Compassion
In this podcast, I’ll discuss:
- The science of Self Compassion
- A mantra to ignite compassion in your brain
- What to do when Self Compassion doesn’t come naturally
- How to practice being your own best friend
With Self Compassion, we learn to meet our wants and our needs in ways that fit us better. Self Compassion is a tool for dealing with difficult emotions. When it opens the doors to change and personal growth, it also brings in calm, centered feelings. As you practice more Self Compassion, you’ll discover a deep wellspring of love inside of you, that you can access whenever you need it.
Old Think vs. New Think
Do you have a strong negative reaction to the idea of self love? Does it just sound strange? If so, this might be “Old Think” rearing its head. Old Think tells us things like, “You lose most of your body heat through your head, so wear a hat!” Or, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”
Thanks to New Think, however, we know those things aren’t true. It’s the same with Self Compassion and Self love. You might be struggling with a form of Old Think that says, “Self Compassion is just a fancy word for Self Pity – and pity is never good for anyone.”
Not so fast! According to New Think:
- Self Compassion creates happy people and adds to emotional intelligence
- The love you direct towards others in your life does not lose its shine and value when you change its direction
- Caring about yourself is the ultimate love, because it enables you to be there for others, too
We Begin by Beginning
Remember: for you, this may be a new learning and way of thinking. It may feel awkward and even fake at times, but no one can be perfect when they start something new. Let’s just begin the practice of Self Compassion by beginning. Today is the day!
“Love after Love,” by Derek Walcott
The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.
Thank you, as always, for joining me this week on the Therapy Spot. I hope you found this refresher course on “Self Compassion 101” helpful. May you feel more ease, may you feel the love, and may you feel safe and healthy. Until next time!