When you think of self-care, what role does self-compassion play? Often we associate self-care with things like exercise, eating well, getting enough sleep, stress management, spending time with family and friends, but quieting negative self-talk is important too.
Negative self-talk is like a hole in a dam, it creates an energy leak, and the higher the pressure, the more energy we lose. The more reactive we become, we spin our wheels more, create more conflict and misery. How do we plug the leak?
Notice when you are brutalizing yourself. Start by looking for when you are in judgment. Even if you are judging others or circumstances, it often boomerangs back to self-judgment. Distance yourself from the judgment. First by labeling it “The Judge thinks…” The Judge thinks I’m stupid. The Judge thinks they shouldn’t have done that. The Judge thinks this situation is horrible. Next by getting out of your thoughts and into your physical sensations for a moment or two. For example, put all your attention on the sensations of your feet.
You can create even more distance by actively looking for different perspectives. This isn’t about getting “the right” perspective: it’s about seeing that there are other ways of looking at it. Such as what can I learn from this mistake so I don’t repeat it, and I grow stronger? What challenges must the other person be going through that they are so self-absorbed? What can be learned or inspired by this situation.
Now you should be better prepared to practice self-compassion. Imagine you are a child or a loved one. What would you say to comfort yourself? What do you need to hear? You may want to think of someone you respect who’s made a similar mistake, so you realized you are simply human.