Why is self-compassion so tricky?
All the memes on IG about “love yourself!” can make you want to puke. They seem so unrealistic and almost passive-aggressive. First of all, most of us are endlessly self-critical. And It is impossible to be constantly self-critical and then jump to gleeful self-love. Then, seeing these memes makes our minds jump to: “I don’t love myself enough” as another excuse to beat ourselves up.
The first step to genuine self-compassion is accepting your suffering.
Allowing suffering sounds counterintuitive. We are so used to denying and suppressing our suffering but the saying “what you resist persists” is true. Our brains want to tell us that if we are suffering, this means that there is something wrong with us that we must fix. But this is a thought error that keeps us in denial and pain. Instead, it is incredibly therapeutic to repeat the thought, “All humans suffer .” Your suffering is important, and it is a part of living the human experience. It is impossible to escape having a human life without experiencing abuse, bullying, not fitting in, loss, abandonment, and betrayal. Even people who had decent parents and upbringing suffer. Even rich and beautiful people suffer. (They do! If you have watched any Rockumentary, you know)
The power of therapy or hypnotherapy allows your brain to release what was secret. Offering painful secrets into the air is incredibly therapeutic. You are healing by sharing it and no longer having as much shame around it.
The second step is to drop judgment.
All the “should’s” and “shouldn’t” in your head are judgments. What if you were a valuable human being who mattered just by being alive? You don’t have to lose 10 pounds, be more productive, be married to the right person, have redone the bathrooms, or not be in debt to have value. Your brain will initially reject this idea only because it has been told that “self-improvement,” aiming for “perfection,” or grabbing all the gold rings is what brings you to value and
to meaning. Consider the peace that will bring you if you drop that idea for a moment. Consider that there is nothing to prove, nothing to achieve, and your only job is to breathe again.
Third, turn around and look at all that you have accomplished!
I recently read “The Gap and the Gain” by Dan Sullivan, a newish popular self-help book. The whole book is based on one concept: it is more psychologically empowering to look at all you have already done than constantly looking at your “to-do” list, and how much further you want to go.
Last night I had many usual thoughts about how I did not get enough done,(this probably sounds familiar to many of you) so I wrote everything I did that day in my journal. I discovered that my brain blocked out 85% of the things I had done that day and only focused on what I wanted but didn’t. So allowing myself to acknowledge that I had done a long list of things settled my poor brain. It also helped me focus my next day on ensuring I was doing the things that mattered to me.
We also do this with our hypnotherapy sessions, where we bring that hurt child into the world you created for yourself today. It is typically the most potent part of any RTT (Rapid Transformational Therapy) session.
The fourth step is to buck the system and decide that you are a human being with value and worth just by being alive.
Don’t let internal or external critics dictate your terms. Instead, accept your worth. Try it. It makes life much more fun.