How to Stop Beating Yourself Up -Self-Compassion

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 In this episode, you're gonna learn about how to use Self-compassion as a powerful source of growth and Change. And most of the ideas in this video come from Kristin Neff. 

She has a wonderful website self-compassion.org with lots of exercises teaching you how to be more compassionate to yourself. And when I talk about self-compassion, I'm not talking about “Oh, just excuse yourself for your bad behaviors. I'm saying “No love yourself as you are, and that can be the greatest source of creating change.

So, let's talk about how to use self-compassion to create change in yourself. When you see something in yourself that you don't like, how do you treat yourself? 

Do you try to get rid of your faults by punishing yourself or criticizing yourself? I mean, for example, do you call yourself lazy or fat? Because you think that criticizing yourself will help you change?

 Or when you mess up? Do you say Oh I'm such an idiot? I'm so stupid. What's the matter with me, Dr. Martin Luther. King Jr. Said Darkness cannot drive out. Darkness only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that. 

So if you do this, if you try to criticize yourself into change, you're trying to get rid of negativity, with negativity. Jessica Ortner said you can't hate yourself. Happy, you can't criticize yourself thin, you can't shame yourself wealthy. 

Real change begins with self-love and self-care. “Fear and soul punishment may inspire a short burst of energy, but it's never a lasting form of motivation.

How To Create Change With Self Compassion

 So first, take a moment and reflect on the pain that you cause yourself by treating yourself this way. Can you have compassion on yourself for how it hurts to be treated so harshly? To break this cycle, we need to really look at our values and decide to live those values toward others and ourselves. So for example, if we believe in being kind, then we need to be kind toward our own weaknesses. 

We can't try to get rid of unkindness by being harsh with ourselves. So for example, right, if I mess up as a mom and I yell at my kids, I can't change myself into being a nicer mom by yelling at myself and beating myself up, right? 

I need to be honest with myself and my fault but I can also be compassionate and kind toward myself as I struggle to improve. 

Find a Kinder Gentler Way To Motivate Yourself

Step number two; see if you can find a kinder gentler way to motivate yourself to change. Imagine what a loving friend or mentor would say to you, to help you improve yourself but you know in a loving and supportive way. So it might sound something like this: “I know you don't want to be acting this way. How can I support you as you try to improve?”

 Or no matter what choices you make, I love you. Or this is really hard for you. It's hard to make mistakes. But we all do them. Let's just look for one small, way to change or improve. 

One small step. The Avett brothers say in one of their songs “when you run, make sure to run to something not away from. So when you run, when you try to change, make sure to run toward your values not just running away from your mistakes, you know, beating yourself up for your flaws or whatever they are, right? 

So instead focus on what you do want to be, instead of what you hate about yourself, I recently read a story on humans of New York about a man who had a heroin addiction.

 He completely screwed his life up and in the process; he was unable to take care of his son named Red. You should go and read the story. He tells about the deepest lows of addiction and the self-destructive behaviors and how he got sober. But his addiction really stemmed from self-hatred which stemmed from some sexual abuse, he experienced as a child. But he blamed himself for that abuse. He said, “You know, I wasn't held down, it wasn't violent. That's why it messed me up so bad. it left me feeling so ashamed and it just kept happening. I I didn’t know how to stop it. I couldn't escape. He was giving me liquor, and by the time I was 14, he was giving me cocaine. 

And I just dove right into the drugs because they were my only escape. Sometimes I hate myself so much and I'll look at Red and I'll think about all the trauma I caused him. Now right there, you can see how that spiral of shame and self-hatred could easily escalate into more and more drug use. 

The more he hated himself, the more drugs, he needed to use, and then the more he hated himself. But this man pulled himself out of this hole with love.

 Listen to what he says next. He shows himself some compassion. “I was a good kid too once. Not an academic or anything, but a good kid. I liked school. I enjoyed making people proud of me. I think I was happy. I remember having feelings like that before the abuse? 

There wasn't anything left to be proud of? So I just burned down the rest of it. Burned it down with heroin and crack until I was finally forced to face it. Because if I didn't I'd lose my son. 

And that's what I want you to know little man. All this stuff that happened to your dad. It almost killed me, but you came along and saved me. Because I always loved you more than I hated myself. 

This man couldn't hate himself into changing. He couldn't hate himself into stopping his drug addiction. The only thing that pulled him out was love. 

When you mess up treat yourself, like you would a friend who made a similar mistake. Lovingly hold yourself accountable, but work hard to improve. 

Don't allow yourself to abuse yourself. You're not allowed to call yourself names or label yourself as defective. That's not only unhelpful but it's also an excuse. 

So instead look for ways of speaking yourself that help you become the person, you want to be. The third step;

Practicing Self-Compassion, so that you can grow is: going forward, when you catch yourself being harsh or judgmental toward your unwanted trait, first, just notice how that hurts you. Notice the pain of yourself judgment and respond to that pain with compassion towards yourself. 

Then try to find another way to speak to yourself, that's encouraging and helpful. If you really want a lasting form of motivation for change, love is more powerful than fear. 

The idea behind this video comes from Kristen Nash, she has a great website, I believe it is self-compassion.org. So if you'd like to learn more about self-compassion, check that out. 



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