How self-compassion leads to self-fulfilment
Updated: Jan 28
Many of us struggle to treat ourselves with the same level of compassion that we reserve for others. Alisa Camplin explains why becoming your own advocate is an important step in self-development.
Recently, a good friend reminded me to cut myself some slack. When she said this, I realised that self-kindness is an area that I really need to be more proactive in.
We all get run-down and fatigued. We can bear battle wounds for a long time, but without self-investment we might not bounce back as quickly as we could (or should). Rebuilding your mental, physical and emotional strength at the times when your resilience is low is vital to managing the ebb and flow of life.
Be your own cheerleader
Too often, we’re way too harsh on ourselves. ‘You’re your own worst critic,’ as the saying goes. This impulse for self-judgment can have an accumulated negative impact, and it can also prevent us from learning and growing from our mistakes.
If a friend called you and said they were feeling down, you would instantly coach them to find the positives and see their strengths. You’d also provide them with some much-needed perspective. So the trick is turning that same impulse for external encouragement inwards and pointing out your own goodness.
Don’t worry about feeling daggy when you’re doing this, because nobody can see or hear you. My self-coaching goes something like this: ‘Don’t beat yourself up, Camplin. You’ve got a lot going on, and to be honest, most things are working out fairly well. Let’s just slow this down and work through things one step at a time.’
Another great trick for remedying the bad habit of overharsh self-criticising is to think of five positive things you did in the past day. These can be as simple and small as you need, as long as you’re recognising the efforts that you’ve made.
It all counts (even in small amounts)
Showing kindness to yourself is about finding small ways to reward your positive efforts and to restore your energy reserves. They can be physical rewards – like wearing your favourite outfit for a confidence boost ¬– or they can be mental, like allowing yourself to say ‘no’ when you are stretched too thin.
On a simpler level, giving yourself time to acknowledge the emotions that you’re feeling in a given moment can be an extremely effective way of showing kindness to yourself.
When you’re having a hard time, sometimes you just need to give yourself a break and remember that this is one of those difficult moments in time that will pass – like all moments. So be willing to give yourself time and space, and recognise that you can (and sometimes should) just stop and come back tomorrow. Sometimes, all you need to effectively refocus is to get an early night’s sleep or take some time out connecting with friends.
It’s also worth remembering that not everything you do needs to be at an A+ standard. Having self-compassion can be as easy as saying, ‘this only needs to be “good enough” today’. Same goes when you are overwhelmed with big things. Don’t take on the whole task, break it down and just find one smaller element you can deal with. Keep looking for the little things you can control – but be patient and gentle in the process. Self-compassion is one of the hardest things to master, but it can make a huge difference to your mental wellbeing.
Focus on the good
When we are feeling run-down we tend to only see the negatives around us. In reality, those things would number in the minority, so it’s important that we train our minds to appreciate the good. Personally, this is where I’m investing my energy right now.
Make a habit of seeing and acknowledging those often unnoticed positive parts of life – appreciate the deliciousness of your coffee, listen to a colleague’s story knowing they trust you, appreciate someone’s smile, tick one thing off your to-do list and feel good about that. There are so many positives in the world around us – allowing yourself to be open to seeing them is an incredible act of self-kindness. You might be surprised how much happier it can make you.
Originally published on www.onelife.aiavitality.com.au on September 26, 2018.
Alisa Camplin is an Olympic Gold Medalist, in-demand Keynote Speaker, Corporate Ambassador, and Human Performance Consultant who delivers results-driven Resilience and Human Performance Training and Development Programs. Connect with Alisa.