Sometimes we lose our way.  We trip and fall down and need a second to breath and gather ourselves before we dust off and get back up and continue.  Maybe we get stuck in a little rut every now and again.  How do we make our way out of it?  What leads us to getting back up and continuing on our journey?  How do some people do this quicker than others?  There is a tool to use when this happens, and at all other times in your life.  This tool will change your life.  What is it?

Self-Compassion.  What images does this word conjure up for you?  Do you see a cheer leader or someone automatically telling you how great you are no matter what you've actually done?  Do you think it means being "easy" on yourself and therefore getting less done with your days? If so, I have an entirely different description for you.  I am talking about self-compassion not self-esteem.  Self-compassion is different because it is more about the way you care about yourself, and your internal dialogue. It's about having compassion for yourself, for recognizing you're an imperfect human being that's doing your best, and having empathy and love for yourself in the process of caring for your being.   As stated by Kristin Neff, author of the book Self- Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself, "With self-compassion, we give ourselves the same kindness and care we'd give a good friend." And this, my friends, is a beautiful way to approach it.  Have you ever noticed that you might treat yourself differently than you would a friend or family member?

Then we get into the question: what's the difference between self-esteem and self-compassion?  The difference is important so tune in.  In fact, by working on present day "self-esteem" and having someone constantly bolster you up and praise you, it leads people to having more narcissistic qualities.  This means that the person believes they are better than others and more important than others. This type of self-esteem is often times developed by focusing on external achievements and being above average - being recognized - striving for fame and popularity.  I believe this is something important to be aware of in this "everyone is a winner" society. Yes we are all great, but what we need is a population of people with self-compassion, not narcissism.  A population of people that recognize we are all equal, and we are all trying our best.  A population of people filled with empathy and compassion.  When people are narcissistic they do not treat others kindly, because they believe they are actually better than them.  One of the key components they miss is empathy.  Without empathy it's basically impossible to have an emotional connection with someone and emotional connections are an integral part of life.  Is this making sense?  Am I resonating with you?

Personally, this has made a huge difference in my life.  My background was all about being hard on myself, never being able to quite attain perfection, but always always always striving for it (at all costs).  In the process of this, I not only began to doubt myself and my abilities, but I was really cruel to myself with my internal dialogue.  Without being aware of it, I would often say things like, "You'll never amount to anything" or "You're not good enough" or even "You are a waste of potential."  Pretty mean, right?  I would NEVER say those things to a friend or family member, but I started to notice that I was saying it to myself.  And do you think this had an effect on me?  You better believe it!  I started to doubt myself and therefore lose the connection to my gut instinct and in turn my mind body connection {which leads to a whole host of other issues I won't get into today}!

When we start to NOTICE our internal dialogue we are able to start to change it.  We are able to treat ourselves as someone that deserves love.  The new dialogue might be something like, "Wow, I can really see the effort that you put in there. Great job, you are getting more experience and learning more about what you want to do next time" or "Keep on honing in on your skills and all your potential will continue to grow and blossom."  When we notice that we are a human like all others and in being human we are imperfect (but also fantastic) we can start to slowly shift and change.  With self-compassion we can show ourselves the same kindness we would to others.  In turn, we start to feel safer and more secure and in this state we are able to thrive rather than just focusing on surviving.

The take away are a beautiful human being.  Truly. Take a deep breath, be kind and gentle with yourself, and start to notice your inner dialogue so you can begin to develop self-compassion.  Speak to yourself with the same loving kindness you would a friend, family member, or even stranger. You will be happier, more productive, and better able to live out your life purpose in a meaningful, satisfactory, and impactful way. 

If you want more can click this LINK to Kristin Neff's Tedx talk.  If you're looking for help along this journey I'd love to work with you!  I help people develop self-compassion, empathy, and love for self and others. You can schedule an appointment HERE.   If this is a part of your daily practice already, GREAT JOB!  Keep up the good work and perhaps spread the message to some of your friends and family :)

Love to you all, xoxo