Self-Compassion: Inner Work

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Self-compassion or compassion for yourself is an elixir to your spirit, soul, and psyche when you make a mistake or fail. Instead of judging yourself harshly, instead of being overtly self-critical, you show yourself some grace and mercy. As long as you are living you will make mistakes and you will fail (failures are just lessons and arrows pointing you in a different direction).

In my teen age years and up until about my late 30’s I was really hard on myself when I made mistakes. If I dropped something or spilled something, I would say harshly, “You’re so stupid. You can’t do or get anything right.” When I started working on the job and I was corrected for making a mistake, I took it personally. Especially, if it was delivered to me harshly. This was a constant thing with me even after a very good coworker explained to me the difference between criticism and correction. It did help but the feeling of inadequacy was still there. I was in therapy and the subject came up. Much of our negative self-talk comes from our home environment, relationships with others and our personal experiences.

If you’re being told something negative each time you mess up or if you are being harshly criticized over and over, you make a connection that you are inadequate. You may think something is wrong with you. Now imagine if you accept that and from there on out when you make a mistake you start to beat yourself up without anyone’s help. Your parents’ voice, your teacher’s voice, your boss’s voice, your partner’s voice becomes your voice. It becomes part of your inner dialogue.

But once I began to correct myself with something as simple as spilling coffee, “You’re not stupid. It’s okay to spill something. As long as you are living you will spill something. Everyone does. It’s okay.” I felt better about myself. I must have inherently known to NOT say things to my daughter like, “You’re stupid or dumb” when she made mistakes or harshly criticize her for making mistakes. Even when I was upset at what she did, I knew better than to ingrain those words into her psyche. I would say, “It’s okay to lose a board game. It’s okay we can clean it up. Next time, ask for help. It’s okay if you didn’t score a100 but you scored a 98 (She went through a period of crying at school when she didn’t make a 100!)” It’s strange how I never made the connection to do that for myself until later on in life. Well, arriving is better than never arriving at all. I still correct myself to this very day when I make mistakes!

When you make a mistake, the worst thing you can do is criticize yourself. It is self-compassion that gives us the POWER to face our mistakes and to come out on top! PRACTICE SELF COMPASSION AND IMPROVE. RISE ABOVE IT. CORRECT OR RE-ADJUST. TAKE A BREAK AND COME BACK TO IT. SELF COMPASSION! And if you really want to elevate your being and brighten your inner light, have some compassion instead of criticism for others when they genuinely make a mistake.

~Nikki

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