Along my journey to be more self-compassionate, there’s been a lot of this:
? ‘Ugh, dang it, I’m not being self-compassionate. There I go criticizing myself again. I need to be less critical!!’ ? I try to beat back the inner-harshness with a bat. I try to out-criticize the inner-critic with more criticism. If I could just keep that self-ridicule at bay, I could finally be more self-compassionate, right??
The a-ha realization for me about self-compassion has been this:
? Self-compassion is more like a widening of a circle than a slashing of a sword. I can widen my circle of compassion to include my tendency for self-criticism. I don’t have to change my behavior immediately. I can sit in the circle of space where the inner-critic is still spitting out hurtful words at and I can choose to wrap her in self-compassion. When I sit there, in that space where the warmth of self-compassion coats my hurtful inner-critic, I see that she’s just hurting, too. Perhaps she doesn’t deal with the hurt in such a loving and productive way, but she’s doing the best she knows how. And then I feel understood. I feel so much more whole.
… And then, the next time I hear my inner-critic, I start all over again. Sword, circle, repeat. Sword, circle, repeat.
It’s a process, but we are all starting somewhere. What does your circle of compassion look like?
1: Think of the last time you were self-critical or self-doubting ?
Get back in that space. What were you thinking… feeling… doing? How did it feel in your body to be mad, frustrated, or disgusted with yourself?
2: Wrap it in compassion ?
Imagine wrapping that moment in a circle of compassion. Maybe it’s a circle around your body, or a circle around the entire situation. Wrap that irritated + disgusted voice in care. Go on and give it a try. When you’re done, go to step 3.
3: How does it feel? ✋
Now that you’ve wrapped that critical voice in compassion, how do you feel differently? Do you feel a difference in your body?
REFRESH + RENEW EVERY MONDAY WITH ILLUMINATE IN YOUR INBOX!
What could help remind you to ‘zoom out’ + wrap entire situations in self-compassion?
How does self-compassion feel different than optimism or self-esteem? Can you feel the difference in your body?
If you’re interested in learning more about practicing self-compassion, check out the Virtual Workshop for Self-Compassion I am hosting on May 7.It will be full of discussion, practice, guided meditation, and journaling. Please respond to this e-mail if you have any questions! 🙂
With truckloads of compassion,
Upcoming Virtual Events with Maria:
A Workshop for Perfectionists
Monday, April 8 | 5-7pm San Francisco time
$40/ $70 for two
Living on Purpose: What Is Your Noble Goal?
Wednesday, April 17 | 8-9:30am San Francisco time
Pay What You Can Afford
Loving Inward: A Self-Compassion Workshop
Tuesday, May 7 | 8-10am San Francisco time
$40/$70 for two
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