On Self-Compassion

Over the last month, since starting this blog, I have been thinking a lot about setting goals, about progress, about what is too much and what is just being disciplined. I’m not sure whether failing to meet a goal means failure, or whether I should forgive myself and move on. I’m also not sure I understand the fine line between being gentle with myself and being a slacker. As I discussed in my January Check-In, I made a ton of progress last month but I didn’t do everything I set out to do. So should I feel proud or did I let myself down?

With all of this in mind, I was excited to see this article yesterday about giving yourself a break and practicing self-compassion. “It’s easy to confuse self-compassion with self-pity, and to use it as an excuse for self-indulgence or other not-so-cute behavior.” The article says that rather than think of self-compassion in these negative ways, it actually involves taking responsibility for your own behavior and accepting that we’re not perfect and there’s nothing wrong with that.

When I read the five signs that I may be too self-critical, they nearly all rang true for me:

  1. Nothing is ever good enough.
  2. Your way is always the right way.
  3. You ruminate repeatedly over your missteps.
  4. You see things are black or white but never gray.
  5. You have an intense feel of failure.

Boom. This is pretty much my brain. And I think some of my resolutions are in line with these, like being less uptight and practicing empathy. This also really spoke to me: “People who are able to change their plans or their outlook more easily increase their self-compassion as well as diminish their levels of stress, depression, and anxiety.” I can’t tell you what a foul mood it puts me in if my plans have to change! It’s one of the biggest issues in my marriage.

Practicing self-compassion is going to be a wonderful tool for me to use in finding balance and making the changes I want to make this year.

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