My top tip to literally change your life
One of my main values as a therapeutic coach and dynamic hypnotherapist is self-compassion. The approach is one of encouraging self-compassion – both the fierce kind that says, “I’m done treating myself like someone I don’t like, I deserve more and I’m actively going to do something about it” and the soft kind that says, “I can welcome in all of my parts, both shadow and light, and I give myself the time and space I need to them all speak, to be seen, heard, validated and understood”.
According to Dr Kristen Neff, self-compassion is “acting the same way towards yourself as you would to a friend when you are having a difficult time, fail, or when you notice something you don’t like about yourself.”
Living in a self-compassionate way is on a spectrum. From having absolutely no self-compassion at one end to being as self-compassionate as you can be in all situations you come up against. It may ebb and flow depending on what’s happening in your world and what things are triggering you.
The reason why self-compassion is one of my main values and why I am writing about my experience of it is because it is the one thing that has consistently supported me to change my life for the better. Without fail, it has always been a big part of the answer when faced with difficulty or struggle. So, of course, I want to share it, in the hope that it might hit some eyes that will benefit from it.
With the benefit of hindsight, I am able to view my life and personal growth in two distinct eras: life before knowing about self-compassion and life after knowing about self-compassion. My life prior to learning about and beginning to practice self-compassion was turbulent emotionally. Things didn’t feel easy for me, because, honestly, I really wasn’t kind to myself. There were many things I deemed ‘wrong’ about myself or things that I didn’t like, particularly anything about how I looked or my weight.
I was able to so easily convince myself I had failed at:
- Doing anything properly.
- Making anyone happy.
- Getting anything right.
- Being successful.
- Doing what I was supposed to be doing.
- Being who I was supposed to be.
- Being fun to be around.
- Being a good employee...
You name it… I could have given you reasons why I was bad at something.
Looking back, it’s not hard to see why I lived life with an incessantly busy mind, anxious thoughts, low self-esteem, depressive and low moods and a difficult relationship with food and exercise. It goes without saying, I was like a little pressure cooker and I look back now on that period with love and so much compassion because it was a period where I got to learn a lot of lessons.
One day, I decided that something had to change.
On paper, I had the home, the job, the car, the partner, and the holidays – life ‘should’ have been happy and joyful and yet, that wasn’t my internal experience.
At the end of my first call with a coach – the very first time I had dipped my toe into personal development – she mentioned the words ‘self-compassion’ to me and on that day, everything started to change.
I wish I could tell you it all changed overnight. It didn’t. But it has been a glorious evolution ever since, and what I now have is an incredible toolbox, including coaching and dynamic hypnotherapy, to support clients to release the beliefs that stop them from acting compassionately and a bucket load of lived experience.
The power of self-compassion
You can probably tell how passionate I am about this. It's really made such a difference to my life and I am sure it will make a difference to yours. Here are just six examples of what self-compassion has allowed me to do, that I wasn’t sure how to do before.
1. Tune in to myself
Self-compassion has allowed me to give myself time and space in the same way I give to friends, and to really listen to what is going on for me – be it with a journal, with a coach, therapist or with a friend. Life before meant denying I had emotions. Life now means actively getting curious about them, wanting to listen to help them guide me and navigate what is aligned with my truth.
2. Speak kindly to myself
I very quickly started to realise the impact speaking to myself negatively – a way in which I wouldn’t speak to any other human – was having on my confidence, self-esteem and stress levels. It wasn’t as simple as flipping the negative into the positive. In the beginning, it was reaching for the neutral and sitting with the discomfort of that, before I really started to excel at recognising my inherent worthiness.
3. Set boundaries
Setting boundaries helped me to begin to realise what I actually did and didn’t want in life and put boundaries in place to make more space for the things that I did want.
4. Heal my relationship with food, movement and body
This enabled me to start to appreciate myself and to be able to move with joy.
5. Live a life in alignment with the truth of who I am
This included creating new friendships which support me, embracing self-expression and building a career that supports me.
6. Growing in personal power and choice
I was able to deeply embody the knowing that I am the deliberate creator of my life.
Self-compassion has released the valve on the pressure cooker, allowed for an entirely new perspective and enabled the foundation for self-discovery, evolution and self-mastery. Things are so much easier if you make the decision to give yourself more compassion.
How has self-compassion shaped your life? Have you yet to discover this power, or is there space for more of it? Spoiler: Of course there is!
If you would like to move forward in your growth and healing and want to explore what a life of more self-compassion could give to you, book a free consultation to chat about therapeutic coaching, advanced hypnotherapy and self-compassion.