Do you ever have those days where you feel like you can't do anything right? I had one of those last week when I messed up big time on scheduling with two different clients. That familiar pit in my stomach emerged and I knew I was totally experiencing shame.
Luckily, I knew what to do.
It would have been easy to let the shame sweep me away. My M.O. when it comes to shame is to overcompensate and "fix" everything and to try and be perfectly perfect so that nobody can see my flaws. Therefore they might not notice whatever it was that triggered my shame in the first place. While trying to appear perfect on the outside, I'm raging with internal critical thoughts. That voice in my head that says, "You idiot, how can you be so disorganized? Pull it together!" This is an old pattern that doesn't work very well for me. It makes me feel awful.
Instead, last week after my blunders, I practiced self-compassion. It may sound fluffy, but it is legit. According to Dr. Kristin Neff who studies self-compassion,
Instead of mercilessly judging and criticizing yourself for various inadequacies or shortcomings, self-compassion means you are kind and understanding when confronted with personal failings – after all, who ever said you were supposed to be perfect?
To be clear, Neff points out that self-compassion is NOT self-pity, self-indulgence or self-esteem. Self-compassion is the acknowledgment of your own suffering and responding in a kind and caring (i.e. compassionate) way. Basically it is treating yourself the way you would a friend who was in a similar situation.
Are you curious to know more? Check out Kristin Neff's website here and her book on the sidebar or my blog.
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