This time the newsletter is later in the month than you are used to from me. Maybe it doesn't bother you at all or maybe you haven't even noticed it. But in my head I tell myself all kinds of stories about what people think of me. That it will never work out for me if I'm not consistent, if I don't have iron discipline or if I don't keep putting inexhaustible energy into my business. People haven't heard from me for far too long, soon I will be history...
The fact is that energy is not inexhaustible and I don't have iron discipline. I want to contribute and I am eager to grow as a company, as a coach, as a trainer but above all as a human being. And the latter requires some silence, understanding and rest at times. Taking time to reflect on where I am, to be content with what is and what I have already achieved. Taking the time gives me the chance to see that things are actually quite beautiful already. Taking pause to check back in with myself and quietly look around me. Examining whether all my body parts are still attached and seeing what maintenance is needed there. More attention to sleep, healthy food, exercise and lots of meditation, of course. I am writing to you now from a short week retreat in the woods. I can hear birds outside and the raindrops falling on the roof. What a relaxation and confidence this gives me. I feel so much space and gratitude. And when I feel this way, the newsletter suddenly comes naturally.
We need more self-compassion in our lives. We so often overlook ourselves. We accuse ourselves of everything we should have done better, more or less. We have judgements about ourselves like lazy, distracted, too stressed, too scared. Judgements and self-blame only make things worse. Firstly, they don't motivate you to start making the change you want to make. Secondly, they do not make contact with what is really going on: the underlying feelings and needs. Contact with the "you" sitting with it and suffering from it.
The best antidote to this is self-compassion. Not to be confused with self-pity. Self-pity is wallowing in negative emotions and not moving forward. Self-compassion, on the other hand, involves acknowledging and validating your struggles and all the feelings around them, while offering yourself comfort and support. It is not woeful self-compassion that makes you weak. Nor is it weakness or lack of resilience the reason why you need self-compassion. It is not for losers who have run out of options, as some might think.
Instead, self-compassion requires courage, vulnerability and a willingness to face your emotions and vulnerabilities. This actually promotes greater emotional strength and resilience. You can cope with bigger and bigger disappointments and setbacks by giving loving attention to the fact that things are difficult for you at the moment. It opens the heart at times when you tend to close yourself off or put up walls. Not wanting to feel the pain and therefore ignoring it or distracting yourself endlessly and senselessly. Self-compassion enables love and understanding of yourself in the face of things that are not as you would like them to be. You become softer towards yourself and less judgmental. It is seeing life as it is: not perfect. You are not perfect either. You want to do things well, you want to be successful, to be loved, to belong, to be a good parent/partner/colleague. So vulnerable really, this being human. And of course you make mistakes, wrong decisions, things you should/shouldn't have done or want to change in the future. But how do you talk to yourself about it now? Take a softer approach.
The beauty is that when we learn to give more space to what we feel, can be compassionate with it and dialogue with it, the more we become loving and patient towards others. The way you treat yourself will ultimately reflect in how you treat others. So if you think self-compassion is selfish, think again. Be kind to yourself for once.