In these exceptionally strange and difficult times, one of the most important things we can do is be compassionate with ourselves. Now more than ever we need to be gentle and give ourselves a break. We may be feeling a mix of emotions. Aside from the obvious anxiety that most of us are experiencing, we may feel guilty – about a loved one, our employees or our feelings of helplessness.
It is essential to understand that all these emotions are perfectly normal. However, what they are not is useful or productive. So, like guiding a scared child by the hand, we must guide ourselves to a place of self-compassion.
It is only once we can be compassionate with ourselves that we will be able to show compassion to others. Dr Paul Gilbert has an excellent book on the subject entitled ‘The Compassionate Mind.’
He states that even imagining being kind and compassionate to both ourselves and others has an exceptionally positive effect on our mind and body.
We are currently being bombarded by frightening statistics and the rest. Some people are also dealing with this crisis through humour which brings some much-needed light relief, but we need to add a hefty dose of self-compassion to the situation.
So, how can we develop our self-compassion? Firstly, by becoming aware when we are frustrated, feeling angry (which is often about sadness or loss) and when our limiting beliefs berate us for whatever we are not doing or however we are not coping. STOP! Catch those thoughts and tell them to take a hike. A visual is a good idea. I imagine a little devil on my shoulder. I blow him away with a fire extinguisher!
Journaling to get your fears, frustrations and rage down on the page also helps. You may even wish to burn the paper afterwards. You would be surprised how cathartic this can be.
Get an accountability friend – someone to remind you to be kinder to yourself. I love my friend’s attitude – when I say something negative about myself, she says ‘don’t talk about my friend Justine like that!’ A fantastic reminder to be kinder to ourselves!
Mindfulness is a brilliant approach to uncovering your compassionate self. It brings you awareness of some of the 70,000 useless thoughts we play on repeat every day. Let them go! Try some new ones!
We are adjusting to a new reality for the next couple of months. By being compassionate with yourself, you will have much more compassion to show to others. We need all the compassion we can get right now, and we must remember – it starts with ourselves.
I am currently offering a complementary 1-hour coaching session where we can look at creative questions and possible solutions to help you deal with whatever you are currently experiencing. I am also providing non-judgemental listening if all you want is to vent your frustrations.
If you would like to avail of this service, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you. Mind yourselves and I look forward to connecting.