Being Self-Compassionate Is Caring For Ourselves
In my last video, I told the story of Alan Mullaly, former CEO of the car manufacturer Ford. She shed a light on his authentic management, how he developed a safe and trusting environment to dissipate fear among his colleagues and led the company on the path of growth once again.
Showing that it is OK to be vulnerable, to have flaws, to make a mistake was a critical part to empower his team to move forward, to share and collaborate. Once they started being authentic, they unlock their way to success.
Indeed, to let others know our strengths and weaknesses, to be transparent about them, it requires us to do introspection, to know ourselves. We need to develop self-awareness about our skills, our values.
And sometimes, what we find can be confronting. We might not accept what we are seeing, because it conflicts with our beliefs, with the image of who we are or the person we expect to be.
So, there is a major step required to be authentic, which is to be self-compassionate.
Usually, there is a misunderstanding or misconception about self-compassion. We often associate this notion negatively with ideas such as self-pity, where we lament ourselves, deflecting criticism to others or external factors, or self-indulgence, where we excessively gratify ourselves, without a specific reason.
It is important to kill these associations which are simply erroneous. Self-compassion is not self-pity, nor self-indulgence.
Being self-compassionate is acknowledging our Humanity. Being Human is accepting a certain sense of “normality”, a “baseline” that we are not infallible, that we are not superheroes, yet we have the ability to shine and to grow.
Being self-compassionate is looking objectively at ourselves, and embracing this vision, accepting it for what it is at this very moment, and, at the same time, being conscious that we can be better, do better, improve.
Being self-compassionate is the ability to acknowledge the situation for what it is. To congratulate successes, even if modest, while, at the same time, being able to underline things that are not working, that need to be improved, or revisited.
Behind the concept of self-compassion, there is also this idea to be fair with ourselves, to be able to recognize and celebrate wins, even small, don’t be excessively blaming ourselves for our failures but instead using constructive criticisms.
Because failures are normal. They are part of the journey, they are part of our learnings.
If we want to work on our self-compassion, every time we find ourselves talking us down, we should reframe our mental self-talk as if we were talking to a friend.
We would be too harsh, or too cynical with a friend. We would try to cheer him or her up, without sugarcoating things. We would be fair, we would be straight, yet we would be kind, we would be warm.
We would try to raise his or her level of energy. So they can move forward, so they won’t let any failure get them down for too long and they could still progress.
So, to be more self-compassionate, we need to talk to ourselves as if we were talking to a friend.
To know more about Self-Compassion
If you want to explore the notion of self-compassion, I recommend the book by Dr. Kirstin Neff, simply called: “Self-Compassion – The Proven Power Of Being Kind To Yourself“
The book is full of advice and techniques to limit self-criticism, offset their negative effects to enable us to elevate and live to our full potential.
An aspect I appreciated is the difference made between self-esteem and self-compassion. The former requiring us to feel special and above average to feel good about ourselves, which requires us to compare ourselves with others.
Beyond the narcissism aspect, it is mathematically impossible for more than 50% of the people to feel good about themselves. Plus, we can’t be always better than our reference points. So having high self-esteem seems quite difficult (or bluntly inefficient).
On the contrary, self-compassion is turned inward. Valuing our self-worth, using ourselves as the measuring stick. Are we progressing? Are we better than yesterday?
Self-compassion can be thus much more mentally stable than self-esteem.
If you want to know more about self-compassion, I encourage you to read this exciting book: “Self-Compassion – The Proven Power Of Being Kind To Yourself” by Dr Kristin Neff, using this link https://amzn.to/2ZBrW2X