Three Insights into Self-Compassion Worth Knowing
A Blogpost Inspired by Kristin Neff’s book titled “Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself”
First off, let me just say that self-compassion is a tricky topic to understand, for even in the smallest of setbacks and mistakes made have I found myself struggling to be self-compassionate. It’s also why it’s taken me a while to write on this topic, because not only is self-compassion a challenge at the best of times, but down right hard to understand in the most biggest of blunders. The ones that I really take a mindful effort in self-compassion, and have inspired me to share the insights gained from reading a book on the topic titled “Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself”
#1: You Are Not Alone (Even Though It Feels Like It)
How often when going through a tough situation have you beaten yourself up for not being able to see it coming and then felt alone in experiencing it? If you’re like me, it’s probably a pretty common experience that shortly after messing up and making a mistake, you may begin to dwell on it or in the process of working through an unfortunate experience, feel alone in your suffering, as if you’re the only one to have gone through this. The thing is you are not, and as Kristin Neff describes this comes from “our belief that we are above average than others one that leads us to believe that everyone else is less than average or below us and therefore isolates us from feeling connected.” The one thing we often search out in stressful or tough situations, where self-compassion is needed. The truth, according to Kristin is that we’re all perfectly average individuals doing our best to navigate this world, and by recognizing our “shared humanity” and interconnectedness” we will find it easier to be gentler on ourselves and others as well in recognizing that we aren’t the only ones going through our experiences.
#2: There’s Little Within Our Control… and More Outside It
Yes, you read correctly, and it’s true. While it may seem like there’s a lot within our control (or so we may believe) there’s greater forces outside our control that play into how we are able react to any situation, at different times. Factors like “our economic and social background, our past associations and conversations, our culture, family and genetics- they’ve all had a profound role in who we are today.” Reading this was enough to make me stop and think, “maybe it’s true. Maybe there’s even less within my control than I thought there was and it helped me realize her second point which is “when we recognize that we are a product of countless factors that we don’t normally identify with, we don’t need to take our “personal failings” so personally.” Eye-opening isn’t it, but perhaps a great insight that’s helped me be kinder to myself and lessen the internal blame that I often take on when things go wrong or don’t turn out as plan. Instead, I’m working on looking at extending self-compassion, and recognizing that how I treat myself in these situations is one of the things within my that can help me be more forgiving when I’ve done something wrong.
#3: Suffering= Pain x Resistance
Lastly, I’ll leave you with an equation Kirsten Neff suggests, and that’s “Suffering= Pain x Resistance”. It’s simple in that so often we create more suffering for ourselves by denying our pain (or in my case going over the situation again and again, and beating myself up over the same unchangeable mistakes). The antidote Kristin suggests is to let our pain flow through us as it’s meant to and allow ourselves the experience of suffering instead of judging it. Which, this simple equation has helped me recognize that it’s okay to have those moments of disappointment and frustration, ones that are only natural but in the past I would have breezed right past them and gone onto the next without allowing myself to be disappointed. When really it’s been allowing the emotions to come that’s been most beneficial in terms of healing and processing the experience.
So, there you have some valuable lessons on self-compassion brought to you by Kristin Neff’s book titled Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself, which I highly recommend you give a read and stay tuned for a future book review on soon when I’ve finished taking it all in.
**Insights gathered from “Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself” by Kristin Neff**