Thanks for Calling #16 - Self-compassion
Welcome to episode 16 of Thanks for Calling.
Work harder. Do more. Be the Best. Win. Be perfect.
We are swamped with messages like this every day. A lot of the time the source of these messages is ourselves. There is nothing wrong with having dreams and goals. But often, we don't take the time to stop and consider whether this self-critical and competitive attitude actually helps us towards reaching these goals or realising our dreams, or actually might be getting in our way.
Self-critical attitudes and talk can be self-defeating. When our self-worth depends on others - where we want to out-compete others to feel good about ourselves - we can actually become more anxious and insecure. If we fail, we become even more self-critical, leading to a negative cycle and more unhappiness. When we are criticised, we feel defensive and got-at. Added to this, competition can provide the perfect circumstances for disconnection. Rather than building social connections, we see others as obstacles to overcome - and we end up feeling more removed from others - which doesn't help our wellbeing.
Self-compassion however helps us to value ourselves not in comparison to others - either positively or negatively. Rather we value ourselves just because we are intrinsically deserving of care and compassion - just like everyone else. We treat ourselves as we would our best friend. Instead of berating, judging or otherwise adding to their despair, we listen with empathy and understanding and encourage them to see that mistakes are normal. And it's not just self-critical over-achievers that lack self-compassion - some of the kindest people you know do too. There is little correlation between the trait of self-compassion and feelings of compassion towards others. We need to practice being kind to ourselves, even if we are habitually kind to others.
Self-compassion can lead to increased strength and resilience, better productivity, and decreased stress. We can also learn how to do it better. Have a listen to the podcast for some idea.
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