Being kind and loving towards ourselves should be the easiest thing in the world. We have the skills and knowledge - we show compassion to others all the time. So why is it near impossible to develop this love for ourselves?
This month I feel compelled to talk about this subject. It’s a strong theme with coaching clients and I know it’s something I neglect too, especially at times of stress or overwhelm.
Something that can make self-compassion difficult is the long-standing beliefs we have about what it means to be self-compassionate. Many of our beliefs are picked up from an early age from the influential adults demonstrating ‘how to do life’. We see their behaviour and learn certain strategies from them. We adopt these subconsciously. There’s no blame to place here - they also learnt their beliefs from the important people around them too when they were growing up.
What did you learn about self-compassion?
But the awareness around this is key. When you understand your beliefs around self-compassion you can begin to question if they serve you or if you'd like to replace them with new beliefs.
Ask yourself ‘What beliefs do I have about self compassion?’. Common things I’ve heard recently; ‘It’s weak’, ‘It doesn’t look good’, ‘There isn’t time for that’, ‘Isn’t it a bit arrogant?’, ‘I need to be strong’, ‘I can’t do it’, ‘I want to role model strength to my kids’, ‘I don’t deserve it’, ‘If I do [show myself compassion], I’ll become lazy and selfish’, ‘I wouldn’t know how’.
These are deep rooted beliefs and changing them is not easy. Developing your self-compassion muscle takes time, practice and self-forgiveness. And, ironically, compassion.
But it can be done.
Reflecting on what makes it hard for you can be a first step to unpicking those barriers and giving yourself the permission to start to show yourself the care you need.
Gemma Brown is an associate certified coach with the International Coach Federation, working with people to navigate successfully through transitions - be it career, relationships or life in general. Her belief is that when we confidently bring our whole selves to all areas of life, anything is possible. Transitions exist in both our personal and business life, and so often, the two fiercely overlap. Coaching with Gemma focuses on you as a whole, enabling you to identify your strengths, build confidence and to live a life with increased purpose and direction. Gemma is based in Cambridgeshire and carries out face to face coaching in the area as well as 1-2-1 coaching via Skype and Zoom. For more about Gemma, visit her 'About' page or contact her directly.