You have to give an important presentation at work, something you feel very stressed about. At moments like those, often a lot of negative thoughts arise. Earlier, Peter wrote in his blog why that is. As humans, we are prone to think more negative than positive thoughts, and often we do not succeed in soothing ourselves or talking kindly to yourself when you are having a rough time. You might need someone else for that. But what if you can soothe yourself? Be your own friendly voice full of compassion that soothes you. You can read in this blog how you can practice this!
How would you address a friend?
“What if I tremble over my words? What if I can not answer a question? What if I am not interesting. I should have never said yes. I am such an idiot.”
These are all examples of thoughts that might occur right before such a stressful presentation. They are negative, not helpful thoughts and above all you talk very strictly to yourself. Would you also talk like that to a friend when he of she has to give a presentation? Probably not, right? You probably have some more compassion for a friend!
Compassion for others
Compassion is about being friendly and warm. To most of us this comes natural when it is about others. Because what would you say to that friend before the presentation? This is probably kind and supportive and that friend would be comforted. Meanwhile, compassion for yourself does not come natural to you.
Self compassion is also described as friendliness and warmth towards yourself, or as a loving, connected presence. It is the power to feel involved with your pain, with the desire to relieve this pain. In other words, treat yourself as you would treat your friends. What self compassion is NOT, you can read here.
Self compassion consists of three main components:
- Self-kindness: With practicing self compassion you become your own best friend. It means that you are kind and understanding towards your own mistakes and flaws. Instead of judging and criticising yourself for your shortcomings, you can put an encouraging arm around yourself and comfort yourself.
- Common humanity: The realisation that all humans are imperfect individuals is important in self compassion. This gives you the feeling of connection with others. Because everybody makes mistakes, including you. when you realise that you are not suffering alone, every moment of suffering is a moment to feel connected to others. The more you open your heart for this, instead of fighting it, the more you are capable of feeling compassion for yourself and others.
- Mindfulness: Mindfulness means that you are aware of your feelings in a certain moment. All feelings are allowed. This is important for acknowledging your pain and it creates the possibility to react on it with care and friendliness. You can dwell on your suffering, instead of ignoring or avoiding your feelings. It also prevents worrying. You do not ignore the pain, but you say to yourself: “This is something that I am struggling with. How can I comfort myself and take care of myself in this painful moment?”
Practice, practice, practice
Try practicing these three elements of self compassing when you are suffering. But also practice when you are feeling ok so you can really get the hang of it. Say things as: “it is ok”, “making mistakes is human”, “everybody makes mistakes”, “you did your best”, “it does not have to be perfect”, “it is ok to feel like this”. Find the words that work for you and repeat this in your head or out loud.
“If we would be as unkind to our friends as to ourselves, we wouldn’t have any friends” – Kristin Neff, self compassion expert
Set reminders in NiceDay App to remind yourself of practicing compassion towards yourself.