Self-compassion and my happy light got me to yoga today.
I just said, “One step at a time.”
All I had to do was turn on the tea kettle. (SHOCK! TEA not coffee!!) LOL
Then I said, “Now, all I have to do is turn on the shower.”
No yelling at myself, but a gentle step by step.
I see and read about so many women who are incredibly hard on themselves, (myself included), and then they turn to drinking to help them cope with the stress. (That’s what I did.)
They get so angry at how they look, how they perform their jobs, and how they think.
(I’m so stupid. I am so fat, so old. I am a failure at this.)
How on earth can we heal if we hate ourselves so much?
I found a quick read on self-compassion on Psych Central.
The author of these strategies is Kristin Neff, Ph.D.
Strategies for Self-Compassion
Being self-compassionate might seem unnatural at first. These strategies can help. This may be harder for some individuals, Neff said, particularly if you’ve experienced trauma, so it’s important to work with a therapist.
1. Consider how you’d treat someone else. The simplest thing you can do, according to Neff, is to imagine what you’d do if someone you cared about came to you after failing or getting rejected. What would you say to that person? How would you treat them?
2. Watch your language. You may be so used to criticizing yourself that you don’t even realize that you’re doing it. So it helps to pay particular attention to the words you use to speak to yourself. If you wouldn’t say the same statements to someone you care about, then you’re being self-critical, Neff said.
3. Comfort yourself with a physical gesture. Kind physical gestures have an immediate effect on our bodies, activating the soothing parasympathetic system, Neff said. Specifically, physical gestures “get you out of your head and drop you into your body,” she said, which is important since “the head loves to run away with storylines.” For instance, she suggested putting your hands over your heart or simply holding your arm. Any gesture will do.
4. Memorize a set of compassionate phrases. Whenever you find yourself saying, “I’m horrible,” it helps to have a few phrases at the ready. Pick statements that really resonate with you. Combining that with a physical gesture — like hands over your heart — is especially powerful, Neff said. She uses the following phrases:
This is a moment of suffering.
Suffering is part of life.
May I be kind to myself in this moment?
May I give myself the compassion I need?
5. Practice guided meditation.
Meditation helps to retrain the brain, Neff said. This way, self-compassionate gestures and self-soothing become more natural. Neff includes several self-compassion meditations
on her website.
I am really going to work on self-compassion until it too becomes a habit, like not drinking is now a habit. Even in my attempts I will have to be easy on myself, knowing I can’t be perfect at this.
To all my friends in recovery, I hope you can give yourself a hug today.