Self Compassion for New Year
Updated: Jan 14, 2021
How are you feeling as we move through January with another lockdown and continued uncertainty? I know some of you may have made New Year resolutions to change and fix what you feel is "wrong" with you. Some may have already "failed" in these resolutions and have now ended up feeling even worse.
Maybe this year more than any other you could start from a place of self care and self compassion. It has been tough for most people in many different ways from illness to isolation, from financial worries to juggling family commitments, acknowledging this difficulty is the first step of self compassion. Rather than starting from the point of I need to do more, achieve more, could you start from the point that I am doing my best in difficult times and praise yourself for that.
I agree goals are good for us, if you want to set yourself goals start from a place of self-kindness, not punishment. I want to improve rather than I am not good enough, would that feel different? Take exercise as an example, rather than saying I'm not fit or I need to lose weight could you say I would like to take care of my body by moving more?
I practice mindfulness most days and I say most days so if I miss a day I don't then berate myself, feel I've failed, or stop doing it all together, which can happen if we then get into a negative mindset. Language and the intention behind the action matter, focus on how a goal will nurture or help you grow rather than where you feel you lack. This will have a kinder impact on your mental and physical health.
If you are finding it tough at present acknowledge that and prioritise some self-care. If you find it hard to prioritise yourself and constantly give to others, remember we cannot pour from an empty cup, we need to top up our self-care in order to be able to support others. What do you currently do to look after yourself? There are still many, small actions you can take to look after yourself, walking, reading, a bubble bath or listening to music., Find small activities that nurture and praise yourself for taking the time to do them.
Self compassion at its heart is bringing awareness to yourself, noticing what you need, and showing yourself kindness as you would a friend. Kristen Neff has a great range of self compassion practices I partially like the supportive touch exercise which I feel as we have fewer hugs is so important. Why not try a few of her exercises or just give yourself some space and time to get to know yourself.
It is only as we begin to understand ourselves and live in an honest, authentic manner that we can find a level of peace regardless of external circumstances.