Posts Tagged ‘compassion’

I was drawn to a recent article in the New York Times by Tara Parker-Pope, Go Easy on Yourself, a New Wave of Research Urges (click here to read the whole article).  I’ve been trying to do that over the past few years…go easy on myself, that is.  I’m getting better at it, but I’d say my strength, and inclination, is still to be hard on myself.

Self compassion, as it’s called, is a new field of study and researchers are finding that people who are kind to themselves are less likely to be depressed and anxious.  They also add that self-compassion is not the same as self-indulgence.  I sometimes wonder when I’m “taking care of myself,” whether I’m just using that as an excuse to avoid doing something that is difficult or unpleasant.  And so, I think it’s important to be really honest with oneself.

The author says one way to get a clearer idea on how to be nice to yourself is to think about what you would tell a child or friend in your situation.

Imagine your reaction to a child struggling in school or eating too much junk food. Many parents would offer support, like tutoring or making an effort to find healthful foods the child will enjoy. But when adults find themselves in a similar situation — struggling at work, or overeating and gaining weight — many fall into a cycle of self-criticism and negativity. That leaves them feeling even less motivated to change.

And that’s the thing, you want to stay motivated and open to possibility.  Reminding yourself that it’s hard to lose weight, get new clients, switch jobs gives you some breathing room to fail and struggle, but ultimately it doesn’t take away from your desire to lose weight, get new clients or switch jobs.

I was drawn to coaching and love doing it because I am very good at supporting others and steering them out of their own way.  I’m not always as good at using the same techniques with myself, but I have started to ask myself what I would ask a client in my own situation.  How would I support her/him?  Why am I able to have total faith in the brilliance and potential of others, but not in myself?

Are you more compassionate with others than you are with yourself?  What are your most common self-criticisms?  Can you think of a new, more supportive way to look at yourself?