“Why is self-compassion a more effective motivator than self-criticism? Because its driving force is love, not fear.”
– Kristin Neff –
A while ago, my friend Sandra sent me a video on self-compassion. Although I meant to watch it, I completely forgot about it until I caught up with her last week. The gentle approach that Sandra has with herself and her own learning journey had me watching it the next day.
In the video, Dr Kristin Neff describes self-compassion as being kind and understanding with yourself. In moments of stress, worry, mistakes or when things don’t seem to be working out for you, she encourages you to gently sooth or reassure yourself. If you’ve never done this before, think about what you would say to a dear friend in the same position and then tell yourself those same things.
In putting this to the test, I’ve started saying things like “this feels challenging, I can feel that stress building up, it’s ok my love (yes, I sometimes call myself ‘my love’), you’ve got this, things always have a way of working out.” I’ve noticed that as I take myself on this mini journey from acknowledging a moment of stress to reassuring myself, I begin to feel more relaxed. The problem might not be solved in that moment, but it creates space for me to approach things in a more compassionate way.
It’s often easy to be kind to others, but I hope you’re able to be just as gentle with yourself.