Self Compassion In A World Of Constant Pressure
Mar 10, 2020 | Ebru Yildirim
Life is a celebration of becoming human. Only we are responsible for making the most of it. Staying true to ourselves and becoming optimistic realists is key to enjoying life's ups and downs. While there are happy and positive moments in life, there is an equal amount of challenges as well, especially when we talk about stress and things that give us pressure- money, peers, and success.
We already go through enough stress in our lives - at work, home, with our family, our peers, and without even realizing it, we put too much pressure on ourselves. We unnecessarily make things harder for us to the point where we self sabotage. Don’t let yourself get stressed over things beyond your control. We need to realize that imperfect as we are, there’s only so much one can do, so avoid trying to have control over every aspect of your life; it will only hold you back from enjoying it.
In a world of constant pressure, where people seem to be running a marathon, stop and ask yourself, “Where do I stand in my life today?”. Take a moment to reflect on the things you want in the future. This will ultimately influence us as we mature and settle into our own. Think of your career, your relationships, and consider what you really want and what brings you happiness and fulfillment.
You may be far off from your goals; however, you’re on your way there. Realize that people go through life at their own pace, so there is no need to feel pressure just because someone you know bought a house, got their first car, was recently married, or started their own business. Be more forgiving of yourself and avoid comparing yourself to others. Ensure you practice self-compassion because when you become kinder to yourself, you realize how much pressure is lifted off your shoulders.
Self Compassion Is No Different From Feeling Compassion Towards Others
Think about how you would feel for a homeless person or a family suffering from poverty. Compassion is empathy in action. It is being moved by what others are feeling, be it pain or an unfortunate circumstance. It then compels you to respond and take action to what they are experiencing so you recognize their pain and suffering.
The same can be said about self-compassion. It starts with acknowledging your feelings and embracing your imperfections. With self-compassion, you realize that failures, mistakes, and suffering is a shared human experience. The next time you go through something difficult or notice something you need to change in your life, acknowledge it and take action. Think about how you can comfort yourself and cope with what you are experiencing at the moment instead of brooding.
Having self-compassion also makes you more forgiving of yourself, instead of being ruthlessly self-judgmental and criticizing yourself when confronted with your personal failings and inadequacies. Putting yourself first at times like this is important because it allows you to think of ways to improve yourself, stay healthier, and become happy. Self-improvement is never selfishness, it is self-compassion. It also means you honor your imperfections and humanness.
Human conditions prevent us from experiencing a perfect life. We go through adversities, calamities, stumble upon our mistakes, drawback from our limitations, and fall short of our values but that’s okay. Opening our hearts into the reality of life is part of having self-compassion.
What Self Compassion Is Not
Perhaps there are still people who fail to acknowledge their flaws and strive for perfection in every aspect of their lives. For these people, self-compassion is perceived as self-pity, selfishness, and self-indulgence. Self-compassion if not about self-gratification. It is more than just feeling good about ourselves and what our worth or value is, which is technically what self-esteem is.
Our self-esteem may prevent us from acknowledging our imperfections. It is also volatile, changing each day. Self-esteem has the tendency to ignore our shortcomings and instead strive to become better than what we know we are capable of doing.
While it is not necessarily wrong to push our limits to feel good about ourselves, it can lead to putting others beneath us in an attempt to appease our self -esteem. This makes us self-absorbed and we tend to place ourselves at a very high pedestal. So when we face failure, we fall into a downward spiral, causing us to feel anxiety, extreme stress, and depression.
While it is true that we assess ourselves from time to time, in an effort to improve, self-compassion should never be based on self-evaluation. Having compassion in one’s self does not mean striving for perfection or feeding our self-esteem; it is about embracing ourselves, flaws and everything. We evaluate ourselves not in an attempt to perfect our flaws, rather determine the ways to leverage it. Self-compassion teaches us that whatever changes we do in our lives, it should not be driven by perfectionism, rather a sense of kindness and forgiveness for being humans worthy of love, compassion, and respect.
Cultivating Self Compassion
Practicing self-compassion can manifest itself in small but impactful ways, such as treating ourselves to our favorite food when we achieve something. It can also come in the form of self-care such as treating yourself to a spa day after a long week. In addition, giving yourself encouragement and forgiveness in your shortcomings also shows self-compassion.
Even keeping ourselves healthy helps in cultivating self-compassion. The nostalgia that we feel when reconnecting with loved ones can have a positive impact on ourselves as well. Learning a new hobby and keeping yourself curious and interested in what life has to offer, makes one humble and gives a sense of gratitude to appreciate who we are and what we have in life.
Although everyone is different, humans share similar experiences. We are all treading the same paths but in different ways. Remembering that we are not alone and recognizing our shared humanity, cultivates self-compassion within us.
Allow yourself to become imperfect and give yourself more room to be human. There will always be days where we feel lazy, unproductive, flawed, and sensitive, and it’s absolutely fine. The important thing is to have faith in our own potential to work around our flaws.
Working with a support system in the form of life coaching is helpful in cultivating self-compassion. Coaches can help you find clarity and gain a better perspective on your thoughts and feelings.
Compassion Is The Cornerstone Of Life Coaching
At a time where we experience a huge pressure to be better and where society expects us to be perfect, self-compassion has never been more important. When we need guidance and accountability, life coaches come in to help us.
Life coaching is driven by compassion for others. It is about listening to someone’s feelings, helping them understand their situation, identifying their goals, and motivating individuals to reach them. Life coaching encourages an individual to practice self-compassion especially in a demanding world of constant pressure. It helps one achieve a balance between their flaws and strengths.
Life coaches also help people confront their shortcomings and embrace their imperfections. This leads them to a content and happy life. They help foster our mindfulness and relate our experiences with others. They also teach us to observe our flaws and negative emotions openly and wholeheartedly by helping us practice self-compassion in our daily lives.
Whether we like it or not, stress will always be a part of our lives. We may not experience it today but life will find ways to throw you off. Having self-compassion will help you enjoy life’s imperfections and reduce the stress and pressure you feel from yourself and your surroundings.