Today I want to talk about self-compassion.
Technically, I want to talk about Heroic Self-Compassion.
When you take it to its logical end, becomes Heroic Self-Encouragement.
That’s what we’ll talk about Today.
Here’s the deal.
We know that self-compassion is important. Critically important, in fact—which is why we’ve spent so much time making sure you and I practice the 1-2-3s of Kristin Neff’s research on the science of self-compassion. (Check out our Notes on Self-Compassion.)
Here’s the quick recap of the science of self-compassion:
1. We practice common humanity. We know that we’re not alone in our struggles. We ALL fall short of our ideals and let ourselves down and suffer.
2. We are kind with ourselves. We talk to ourselves with the same kindness with which we would support a beloved friend rather than with incessant, toxic criticism.
3. We are mindful of when we are spinning out into shame and we bring ourselves back to practicing the first and second principles of self-compassion.
In other words, we shine a compassionate flashlight of awareness rather than beat ourselves up with a hammer.
To which I say, “Yes!! We need to do all of that. AND…”
At some point, we need to move beyond acceptance of our suffering and choose to do something different.
We need to hold the flashlight of gentle compassion with one hand AND we need to wield an equally loving but considerably more fierce HAMMER with the other.
We need to have the serenity (and self-compassion) to accept the things we cannot change AND the COURAGE to change the things we can and, of course, the wisdom to know the difference.
In short, we could say that we need to move beyond *self-compassion* to Heroic Self-Encouragement.
With a flashlight of loving compassion: What needs work in your life?
Can you see the ways that behavior is creating unnecessary suffering?
You’re human. You’ll never be perfect. And shaming yourself about that fact and your shortcomings won’t help.
With a hammer of loving encouragement: We need to move beyond acceptance and do the hard work to craft a better life.
Let’s do that, Hero.
For ourselves, our families, our communities, our countries and our world.