THE INNER VALENTINE – SELF-COMPASSION

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Related category: Relationship

Valentines Day is a time that we usually,

If you align to the now Americanised tradition, celebrate the love for those special people we have in our lives. But how often do we go inwards and focus on embracing love for the self?

Self-compassion is something that we see all to commonly missing from clients tool kits. Whether that is because we have been taught to be more self-critical in order to avoid potential criticism from others, have a strong fear of making mistakes, or have simply had the behaviour passed down through the generations, we have lost the skill to ‘love thy self’.

THE INNER VALENTINE – SELF-COMPASSION

How can you love others if you have lost the ability to love yourself?

Compassion comes from the Latin term ‘suffer with’. Often we see clients with pain, whether that be mental or physical, will do anything to avoid it. This is only natural as why would you choose to stay in discomfort?

Dr Kirsten Neff from the University of Texas, defines self-compassion as being kind and understanding toward oneself in instances of pain or failure rather than being harshly self-critical; perceiving one’s experiences as part of the larger human experience rather than seeing them as isolating; and holding painful thoughts and feelings in mindful awareness rather than over-identifying with them.

One of the main pillars of ‘The Pillar Code’ is ‘acceptance’. You must start with the acceptance that you are in pain in order to find the awareness of what the reason of the pain is. Like the ‘chemical burn scene’ out of the hit cult classic ‘Fight Club’, you must have acceptance of the now. True acceptance allows you to move forward, letting go of the illusion that your psyche puts up, in order to see the unadulterated truth. We need to realise, to be human is to be ‘imperfect’.

How can you turn towards pain?

Being kinder to one self is a great start. One of our key treatments with ‘The Pillar Code’ is to work on self talk. Quite often we put our selves down for the smallest of mistakes, expecting nothing but perfection. This perfectionism that we have re-enforced through social media and misleading media outlets, has created more harm then good in feeding the illusion that celebrities are to be idolised and are without flaws. What we don’t see though, is those people who have ‘made it’ in their own way, have made many ‘mistakes’ or as we like to call them ‘lessons’ along the way.

Instead of simply focusing on our mistakes, we can ‘flip the coin’ and focus on what positives have come from the situation. The recent bushfires and weather events in Australia are a great example. Through all the devastation, loss of homes and lives, we can see the world coming together to support those affected through mass donations and volunteer efforts. We have seen communities unite to overcome their differences for a common goal. We have seen the biggest shift in the discussion on climate change in Australia and around the world since the first major studies back in the 1980’s.

Conclusion

Like a parent teaching a child to walk, they understand with empathy that everything happens in small but incremental changes. A child isn’t going to learn to walk in a day. Instead, slowly and over time with repeat failure, they learn to walk. Be the parent to your child in your own life. Have compassion for that inner child who is constantly learning and growing. Be there to support and allow yourself to make mistakes without judgement, knowing that one day you will learn to achieve all the things you choose, in your own time.

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