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16. Self-compassion

Anyone else feeling a little out of kilter at the moment? I wrote this a while ago for a workbook for clients, and I'm having to take a reflective dose of my own medicine right now.

Being self-compassionate means extending compassion to ourselves when we feel inadequate or experience failure, or general suffering. It is composed of three core elements: self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness.

Learning new skills and navigating this new work landscape can challenge us and lead us to revert to harsh self-criticism which in turn can sabotage our success. Practising self-compassion can help us to do better in new and stressful environments, particularly when we doubt ourselves.

Below are a few tips:

  • Allow yourself to make mistakes

  • Practice self-forgiveness

  • Notice when you're being self-critical

  • Give yourself permission to be hurt & upset (this can be really hard to do!) One of the most skilful ways we can support ourselves and others is to allow emotions and feelings to be exactly as they are - without minimising, dismissing or invalidating them

  • Express gratitude

  • Remind yourself of how you'd treat a friend

  • Create self-compassionate affirmations

  • Learn the three elements of self-compassion below

The three elements of self-compassion are

  • Self-kindness

  • Common humanity (the condition of being human)

  • Mindfulness

I want to reflect on the meaning of common humanity – I don't know if it's just me, but the notion that when we hold a space for common humanity, for one another, for being human rather than super human – well it can take the weight off of us all – to err is to human, to be imperfect, unskilful, rubbish, left of centre etc as well as brilliant, compassionate, kind, driven etc….is what makes us human, it unites us. For me, the notion of common humanity can feel expansive, forgiving, nurturing and generous.

So, today's practice is to consider self-compassion in the context of common humanity – how to be kind toward our imperfections, how to accept ourselves as we are. A meditation is attached. How does self-compassion feel for you? What do you notice? Reflect on the practice in your journal.

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