A friend of mine brought up self-compassion recently as something she wanted to start practising. She realised she'd been pretty hard on herself over the years and it was time to make a change. It was time to be more gentle, she said. At the time I engaged in the conversation and thought to myself, that's really nice idea, but afterwards thought nothing more of it. Until this morning.
This past week I have been struggling to get back on my healthy eating plan. And, to be perfectly honest, I've been beating myself up about it. Thinking back to a post I saw on social media yesterday where a parent was asking how she might deal with a particular behaviour her child was displaying, and my response to it, which was to first show kindness and compassion. Reminding myself that punishment rarely works, which is exactly what I thought when responding to that social post, I took a different approach with myself. Each week I take myself out for cake and coffee and it's something I really enjoy. Sometimes it's a short visit to a local cafe or I might stay a while and work, perhaps writing blog posts, scheduling social posts or whatever needs doing that I can work remotely on. When I woke up this morning I realised I'd been telling myself I couldn't have my outing this week because I had been bad with my eating. Then I stopped. And, at that moment, I remembered the conversation about self-compassion; about being kind and understanding with oneself, much like I'd suggested that mum might be with her daughter. What happened next was not what I expected. But, I discovered that by taking a different approach, I had a surprisingly different outcome. By allowing myself to have my treat anyway, and to think about my behaviour (of overeating) in a more loving and compassionate way, my whole thinking process changed. Deciding that it was actually okay to be less than perfect with my eating, and that from time to time I'm going to get off track, I was allowing myself to be human. And, taking that pressure off myself made me feel less rebellious and more loved. After having my treat I felt totally satisfied, and I have no desire to overeat now. I'd already recognised why I was struggling earlier in the week and I'm working through that. I talk more about that here in this post, Self- Sabotage: It's More Common Than You Think. Being kind to myself is way more important than I'd previously recognised. Yes, I've been allowing myself far more down time this year, but actively showing myself true compassion, is something else. It's a beautiful and gentle way to treat myself that feels very warm and loving. So, what is your experience with self-compassion? Tell me in the comments, I'd love to know. Until next time,