In honor of Valentine’s Day, I wanted to write about the most important relationship you have. The one with yourself.
A few weeks ago. I did a series about our Mongers (inner critic). Our Mongers are a contributor to why we are stressed out. A key to working with the inner critic is having self-compassion. If you work with me, you will hear me say the words “compassion, compassion, compassion.” The longer I do this work, and the more I implement it in my life I know that this work is useless, without self-compassion. Real change only comes when we love ourselves first. If we can’t give ourselves compassion, we will always be in a cycle of people pleasing, perfectionism, lack of boundaries, etc.
Not surprisingly when I bring up the idea of compassion, I get a lot of pushback from people. There are two main lies that we tell ourselves when it comes to self-compassion.
We have swallowed the belief we are inherently lazy, so we need to hammer constantly ourselves to accomplish anything. Without this hammer, we will become Netflix binge, chocolate eating, lazy assholes. Here’s the thing: When we go to war with ourselves we are saying, ‘You are a fat, lazy slob who can’t accomplish anything without a good ass whooping!!!”
What a hostile way to live!!
NO wonder we are stressed out and exhausted…we are at constant war with ourselves. Honestly, we are innately good, loving, kind individuals. We are not robots, we are not perfect, we are not infallible. We are human beings. So yes, sometimes we need a Netflix, binge-watching, chocolate eating Saturday afternoon. Here’s a radical idea….the more we give ourselves love and compassion the more we will accomplish stuff. The truth is there
The truth is there are tasks, responsibilities, basically stuff we HAVE to do and sometimes we HAVE to do it when we don’t want to. Practicing self-compassion doesn’t mean we always give ourselves a pass or take the easy way out (myth #2) compassion means we don’t hammer ourselves into doing a task.
Because we believe lie #1, we hammer ourselves so hard that we are exhausted, insecure, and beaten up. So then our response is to give a giant ‘f-you’ to our inner critic, so we go the opposite way, and we give ourselves a HUGE pass. We watch too much TV; we eat too much, we drink too much we over-indulge in the name of ‘self-compassion’. But that is a bastardized version of self-compassion because those ‘too much’ behaviors aren’t healthy. They aren’t KIND to ourselves. If we were kind to ourselves, we would enjoy that stuff in moderation. We wouldn’t need to over indulge because we wouldn’t be giving a giant ‘f-you” to our inner critic.
As I write this post, it is a Saturday morning. To be honest, the last place I want to be today is writing, but I have a lot of work to accomplish today. I have reserved today to do a lot of writing because I am going to be out of the office next week enjoying time with my family. So today is the only day I can check a lot of stuff off my list. I HAVE to do this work today, or I will face serious consequences. In other words, binge watching, chocolate eating is not in my future for today.
But here is the difference between me practicing self-compassion and me hammering myself.
Me: Ugh I don’t want to work today. I wish I could curl up on the couch and read a good book all day.
Critic: Ok, girl, if you don’t get up and at it right away you won’t get anything done so no relaxation for you….up and at your computer ASAP.
Self-Compassion: You have a lot to do today so let’s start the day with a good breakfast, and you can watch one TV show you enjoy but in exchange you have to be in the office by 9:30.
Me: Well, l missed the deadline I am just now getting to the office
Critic:: Yep; you suck. I told you that you were a lazy asshole. Now you are going to be behind all day.
Self-Compassion. That’s ok. Just buckle down and get this done. Let’s turn off all the distractions and just concentrate on writing.
Me: Oh, let’s check email…maybe I got an email. Oh my cat looks so cute, let me take a picture and post it on social media
Critic: There you go again..You just can’t be trusted. You are going to be so far behind you will NEVER get this done.
Self-Compassion: ok what’s going on? are you stuck? Why don’t you want to write/ We have our topics we have the outline you just need to do it. Let’s write non-stop fo 10 minutes and then you can take a break.
Me: Wow! that time when faster than I thought, I finished my article. Now I am going to grab some water and start on the next thing.
Self-Compassion: Nice work! Only four more things to do we can get this stuff done and read today too!
See the difference? My self-compassionate voice is still encouraging me to get things done but rather than being at war with myself it is a teammate. It isn’t giving me a free pass; it isn’t telling me to take the day off. It is lovingly encouraging me to do what is best for me, which is to get my work done so I can enjoy my vacation and enjoy a good book once I finish everything on my list.
This week I encourage you to notice how often you buy into one of these lies, and the practice giving yourself some compassion.
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