This is the last installment of my lessons learned on my recent visit to Byron Bay. In many ways my final realisations surpassed anything that was formally taught in the Mindful Self-Compassion course…I know we have a few new subscribers this week (thank you for your support!) so if you want to catch up on this three part series you can find part one here and part two here.
One of the things we talked about during the course was the idea that positive emotions are about being able to seek out and enjoy new opportunities. Sometimes the limiting beliefs we’re so used to living with unconsciously hold us back from these experiences. Giving ourselves a break (showing some compassion to ourselves, and simply accepting who we are at a particular point in time) can help to lessen the negative self-talk and increase the opportunity for positive experiences to present itself.
I’ve realised that I have spent an awful lot of time trying to make the pain/shame go away. Wishing I didn’t have it, and thinking I was destined to suffer more than those around me. This is absolutely the wrong approach! The truth is, it may never go away. It just becomes easier to live with – a bit like a faded photograph in the back of an album. In addition, we all experience it and no one gets to claim their suffering is more substantial than the next person – pain is a universal experience. However, I’ve learned that self-compassion is a way to lighten the load.
So, when is it time to give yourself a little self-compassion? I’d say whenever you catch yourself listening to your own negative self-talk. Most of us are more comfortable supporting a friend in need, so imagine what you might do if you heard a friend speak the same words. Give those responses to yourself; recognise that you’re not alone; do something to soothe yourself and then move on. However, you have to make a choice to try this. You have to be prepared to do something different to change how discomfort feels in your body. This can be scary at times because if you don’t hold on to your darkest thoughts, who will you be? Pain and shame are often our protectors, they keep us from making the same mistake twice. I have talked about this before here, and it certainly is a challenge. For me, it has been a worthwhile experience and one I plan to continue. It feels like medicine for my soul.
Perhaps the most fitting way to end this series is with some words from Dr Kristen Neff on the topic. Time to explore some new topics next week. I hope you can join me xx