Self-Compassion… Or Selective Compassion?
I’m participating in the Kindness Challenge from The Richness of a Simple Life… and this week’s topic is self compassion.
So, I lost a subscriber from my mailing list this Thursday.
I know, big deal right? Probably not for experienced bloggers, but for someone just starting it was a bit of a blow, and normally I would’ve tried to find out exactly which post and which opinion did it for them. This time, though, I didn’t.
I didn’t have to try to please everyone.
You see, there’s a little perfectionist in most of us, except for those who are inconceivably lucky, and that perfectionist is always nagging us to try to please everyone and make everything just so, so people can’t criticise us.
Some of us are worse than others. As I mentioned in my Week 1 post, I myself don’t handle criticism very well – I never have, and with this blog I’m opening myself up to it.
So let’s return to me losing one subscriber from my mailing list, a very ordinary event. If your best friend told you about something like this happening, would you tell them it’s because they don’t write all that well? Would you say they deserved it for voicing an opinion, putting themselves out there? Would you encourage them to overthink and overanalyse such a minor occurrence?
I don’t think most of us would, but many of us would do it to ourselves.
“Maybe you just don’t write all that well.”
“You’re just not interesting enough.”
“Your posts aren’t quality posts.”
The same goes with other things. Whenever we fail at something we tend to criticise ourselves. And whenever someone else criticises us we tend to chastise ourselves, too. Not many of us would do that to a best friend, however.
This kind of thinking often leads you to believe you don’t deserve even what you do achieve, or at least that’s what happens with me. If I don’t get a prize for every event or subject I’ve been working on, I’ll shrink from going to the prize distribution even if I am getting a prize for something else, which is something I did today, but I forced myself to go. This becomes more and more of a habit as you try to escape criticism by hiding more and more of yourself and what you do instead of putting yourself out there, and this may give you short-term relief, but in the long-term it destroys the chances of success you may have had.
As a new blogger, putting my self out there for everyone to see what I think and write was my biggest fear, and oftentimes it still is. But I’ve started saying to myself – “So what if I’m imperfect? I can always improve myself.”
You may recognise that as something you might say to a discouraged friend.
You see, friendship is sympathy and encouragement, and that entails compassion. You can even apply it to that special someone, going by last week’s Self Love theme. Every time a friend or loved one falls, we are there to pick them up and encourage them, so why don’t we do that to ourselves and stop beating ourselves up over every little failure and inability?
You are the only person who’s going to be with you until the very last moment, even if nobody else is, even if you end up with many friends and a loving spouse it’ll be just you at the end when you start to lose consciousness, so why not become friends with that person? Show them some sympathy. Encouragement.
If you’re like me, stop taking criticism of what you do as a personal insult, as I’m going to try to do, and if it is a personal insult, learn to stand up for yourself on the inside. You would support a friend if someone called them stupid, not give them reasons to believe it, so try to do that with yourself too. Next time someone criticises you, maybe imagine someone doing that to a loved one. What would you say to your special person? Try saying that same thing to yourself.
With self-compassion will come self-acceptance, and only when you accept who you are without any negative connotations to it can you start on the path of self-improvement. Accept yourself like you accept your best friend or spouse, with all your quirks and imperfections, and learn to work with them.
Only then can you hope to strive for perfection, but don’t forget you’re only human, and you need some support and compassion from your closest friend – you – every time you fail.
Also, I’d just like to share this post from Ramblings of the Claury.