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If You Think Self-Compassionately, You Will Be Self-Compassionate.

Self-Compassion Blog.  If You Think Self-Compassionately, You Will Be Self-Compassionate

Misunderstanding Self-Compassion

Self-Compassion has long been misunderstood as an innate quality gifted only to the patient and penitent.  Hearing this word inspires images of Mother Teresa caring for impoverished orphans or Bishop Desmond Tutu offering forgiveness to human rights violators.  We think of the Dalai Lama hugging an innocent Northern Ireland man, who lost his sight after being hit by the ricochet of a rubber bullet meant for someone else. 

We think of these things, and maybe even verbalize a wish to be more like these folks, forsaking our own ability to think and act self-compassionately, and we move on.  But, these people, who have done so many good deeds that their legend seems to supersede their limitations as human beings, are still just people.  In examining an event that involved several Maoist soldiers beating up a young child, even the Dalai Lama said that he hopes that he would have been able to respond compassionately, but that he might for all of his good intentions responded aggressively had he been there.  The take home message is not that the Dalai Lama is part Chuck Norris, though he might be, but rather that self-compassion is not an inborn and passively maintained character trait.  Quite the opposite!  Self-Compassion is something we foster from doing.

The Burden Of Criticism

Why is this helpful to you?  Because all the self-criticism and criticism of others that you endure without compassion is exhausting, disorganizing, and displeasing you.  Think about it.  The more critical of yourself and others you become, the more critical thoughts become available to you.  The more available they are, the more we feel weighed down by them.  Sure, it sounds cool to say critical things about ourselves and others.  It gives people the sense that we are so tough that we do not care what the consequences of such actions are, but, in the end, other people do not pay for these thoughts and behaviors.  We do!

Finding More Self-Compassion By Thinking Self-Compassionately

I do not know about you, but I wake up every day with the same thought.  How can I get more and pay less?  With all of our responsibilities, we can ill afford to pay more.  I am not suggesting that you rid yourself of negative thoughts.  We come by these thoughts naturally, but we can choose what we do with them.  If you think about how life’s challenges have made your circumstances and the circumstances of others difficult, you will have greater access to self-compassion, which also means less criticism of yourself and others.  If you have not been paying attention, that means more energy and less stress for you! 

I am not suggesting that you give yourself or others a free pass to do things that cause pain, I am simply inquiring if finding remedies to those issues would not be made easier by better understanding them.  I, for one, believe that all people are capable of great compassion, but to be self-compassionate, you must think self-compassionately.  The next time you experience something that causes you pain, observe your wish to judge yourself and others, let it pass, and choose to remember how you and others come by your experience naturally.  Like a long road paved with bricks, this brick (a single act of self-compassion) will be one of many, yet its worth is infinite, as it gives you greater and easier access to self-compassion.

365 Days Of Self-Compassion.  Day 271.  In The Books.

Self-Compassion For Fake Friends

Self-Compassion For Fake Friends

Fake Friends

Managing Fake friends is one of those self-compassion topics that people ask me to address often.  Initially, I was a little hesitant because dwelling on unhealthy relationships is probably its own issue.  However, I do understand that people, who work in certain fields, and people who are isolated for long hours with their work are vulnerable to people, who pretend to be their friends.  So, what are fake friends?  Fake friends are any group of people, who use the term friend to describe you, but do not join you in your struggles or celebrations, and do not include you in theirs.

How To Spot A Fake Friend

How can you spot a fake friend?  A fake friend says they will call you, but they never do.  A fake friend says they will make plans with you, but they never do.  A fake friend fails to notice your ups and downs, but might comment after hearing others do so.  A fake friend tends to use the word friend to describe you, when they need something or when they are feeling lonely.  A fake friend knows way less about you than you do about them.  Sound like anybody you know?

When Fake Friends Cannot Be Avoided

As mentioned before, fake friends can simply be avoided if you have an abundance of friends and time to make new friends. However, if your efforts are limited by time consuming work or the nature of your work, where fake people are abundant or there are few if any people available to befriend, then fake friends becomes a serious problem.  If you have a million dollars, and I take a few, you might not even notice, but if you only have five dollars, and I take four or five, it is going to hurt.  In the case of friends, being friendless means feeling lonely, and perhaps unloved.

Self-Compassion Steps For Managing Fake Friends

So, how can we remedy this fake friend issue?  First, notice how you feel and name the problem.  Second, notice where there is tension in your body, and soften around these parts.  Third, notice how you have come by this issue naturally, so you can give yourself permission to let it go.  You are a well-meaning person, who is kind enough to share your time with others.  Everyone needs friends.  When these so-called friends abandon us, it hurts.  And, because it hurts, we are deserving of kindness and compassion.  Then, do something really kind for yourself, and find someone (even if they live really far away) to connect or perhaps reconnect with. 

Plan some time into your schedule to meet new people without the obligation of making new friends, but with the wish to do so, and the effort to simply make yourself available.  Do not settle for fake friends.  Such an act only convinces you that you are not worthy of genuine love and affection.  Nothing could be farther from the truth, and it works to your advantage to keep this nonsense far from your heart.

365 Days Of Self-Compassion.  Day 256.  In The Books.

Self-Compassion For Setting Reachable Goals, And 3 Easy Steps To Achieve Them

Setting Goals

If there is a time for self-compassion, it is when people are setting goals.  We tend to set broad, very unrealistic goals that require superhuman will power and energy to complete them.  I do not know who we picture working to accomplish these goals, but I hope it is not us.  We are only human, and such goals would probably cause us a lot of pain and anguish.  I do not know how you feel about pain, and anguish, but I am against them.  And, yet, it is really important to set short and long-term goals that are in keeping with our values, if we are to live an inspiring, and meaningful life.  Geesh!  What should we do?

Giving Up

This is normally the point in which people become stressed, and give up on their goals.  Netflix has shows waiting for them, and they have gone minutes since checking their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts.  But, later that night, they find that they cannot sleep.  They toss, and turn, and then toss, and turn some more.  Something is gnawing at them, and they turn on the light to get some clarity.  Annoyed, they ask themselves what the big idea is.  The mind inquires, “What are you doing with your life?”  Immediately, their brain brings them back to the moment in which they were so overwhelmed with planning that they gave up, and they start to feel disappointed, and dejected.

Finding Your Way Back To Hopefulness With Self-Compassion

As you might imagine, this is a great time for self-compassion.  You could give yourself self-compassion for not being able to sleep, or self-compassion for worrying about your life, or self-compassion for how hard it is to erect a manageable blueprint for one’s goals.  You might find yourself with a little more well-being, and be able to return to bed.  Of course, when you wake up the question is still there, but not because you are seeking more disappointment or self-criticism.  This question reappears because deep down inside you have a formidable wish that is not easily scared off.  This wish is for you to live an inspiring and meaningful life.

Self-Compassion For Your Goal Concerns And 3 Quick Steps To Goal Success

Remembering the self-compassion you practiced last night, you think to yourself about how you might use self-compassion to plan your goals.  This is what you do.  You notice the anxiety that comes up with this burden, and you name it.  You notice the areas of your body that are tense and you soften around them.  You notice how you have come by this stress naturally, and you bring compassion and kindness to your experience. 

Then, you do the following three things.  Pick one goal that allows you to be present and full of love at work, with friends, and at home.  Then, write down two things that are necessary to complete this goal.  Finally, make a plan to work on one of them, and take a picture of your long- term goal that you keep on your phone or print and laminate to keep in your wallet or pocket.  When the worries about your life re-emerge, and they will, return to the self-compassion practice, acknowledge the action that you are taking, and take a look at your picture.  The best part about this process is that literally anybody can do it, and the few that do will find greater fulfillment, inspiration, and ease than they have experienced in a long time.

365 Days Of Self-Compassion.  Day 239.  In The Books.

Don’t Give Up The Heart

Never Give Up

Years ago, midway through my self-compassion practice, I was inspired by a speech the Dalai Lama gave called, “Never Give Up.”  Its basic point was that we spend most of our lives developing the mind with little thought of developing our heart, meanwhile most of our suffering comes from trying to control things with our minds without the capacity to endure, soothe, and nurture things with our hearts. 

I Westernized this teaching for my own purposes, which I entitled, “Don’t Give Up The Heart,” to remind myself that when social forces and peer pressure would ask me to choose my mind, money, power, or status that I needed to prioritize the heart.  It’s pretty logical on its face.  None of the other things last or remain meaningful.  They also fail by themselves to bring you happiness.  It is only when they accompany something else that they become satisfactory, and potentially nice.  That one thing is the heart.

The Watered Down, Westernized View Of The Heart

The problem with urging people to follow and embolden their heart is that many people have a watered down, westernized view of the heart.  They mistake heart for whimsy, self-centeredness, naivete, or personal gratification.  They say, “ I know she was not a great fit for me, but I decided to turn off my brain, and listen to my heart.” 

Really?  Your heart told you to pursue someone that you knew would make you unhappy or cause you great suffering in the future.  I don’t know if you dialed the wrong number, but I would try your heart again.  That sounds more like you followed your ego, or you followed your desire to satiate something.  The heart, the way self-compassion understands it, is the part of yourself that is understanding, supportive, soothing, and urges you towards your core values (the principles that give your life the most meaning).

The Self-Compassionate Heart

The heart, in this sense, makes contact with your immediate experience, and uses your bodily response to be a test of what is really important, what makes you feel most at ease, and how you might go about approaching a reality that prioritizes these two things.  Self-Compassion is the vehicle it uses to be present while forming this blueprint, and then later as the tool to understand, process, and grow from the challenges that you experience along the way.  That is your truth. 

So, asking one to be loyal to their heart is another way to say that they should keep coming back to honoring their truth, and the truths of others despite social pressure to avoid this awareness via the distractions of money, power, and status.  Most of us can understand that.  We have seen celebrities and politicians be able to live a pretty entertaining life with those aforementioned three things until they experience some turbulence, and then without a value placed on their heart and the hearts of others, they find themselves overwhelmed and unable to cope.  It is really not their fault.   If you have never been presented with an opportunity to develop a skill, surely you cannot be expected to exercise it when life gives you its most difficult tests.

Moving Past Social Rewards

Money, power, status, awards, the limelight, we like these things.  How the heck are we supposed to forgo them to go on some weird journey to the heart?  Can’t we just get a t-shirt or some cool beads, and call it a day?  What if we just donate to a really good cause? That’s the funny thing.  There is nothing wrong with money, power, and status on their own.  In fact, you can use all of these things to help people, or even live really well, and we want you to live as well as you can.  That being said, these things cannot be used to replace your personal journey to self-acceptance, purpose, and self-compassion.  There is little about life that makes sense without love, and if you cannot love yourself, you are going to have a heck of a time loving other people, especially the obnoxious ones!

Easy Steps To Help You Never Give Up The Heart

So, have some compassion for yourself, when people ask you to give up your time to recharge, to take care of yourself, to wear or watch things that just make you feel good, and make time for these things anyway because, under no circumstances, will you give up the heart.  Then, nurture the crap out of that heart.  Notice how you feel this very second.  Name it.  Soften around the parts of you that are tense.  Ask yourself how you can be kind to yourself, and incline deeply into the sense of ease this gives you.

Use that as a metric to get a sense of what you need to truly be happy, to be inspired, and to do meaningful things that give you purpose.  You are never too old or too young for self-compassion.  The heart only becomes stronger over time.  Long before we can ever speak, and long after we can speak no more, this very thing will ground us in the ever-changing matrix that is the world.  It is worth developing.  Remember that.  And, no matter what the world offers you, don’t give up the heart.

365 Days of Self-Compassion.  Day 228.  In The Books.


Self-Compassion For Our Flaws

Oh No!  Not Our Flaws!

We seem to be willing to find room for self-compassion for just about everything, well everything but our flaws.  We draw an imaginary line to let ourselves and others know that there are some parts of us that are downright unacceptable.  As part of our truth, we do not want that perspective refuted.  We know that our nose is too big, or too crooked, or that our cheeks are too fat, too gaunt, or too ill-defined.  We know that we stink, when it comes to relationships, remembering important events, or performing when everything is on the line.  We know that we are not as smart as other people, or as interesting, or as funny, or as lovable.  These are not opinions.  They are facts.

Of course, there are ways to poke holes in these facts because most of them seem to be based on whoever is in the room.  What if you are surrounded by really ugly, dumb, bland people?  What do you do with your facts then?   I think these people would probably take it very badly, if you insisted that you were even uglier, dumber, and blander than they were.  Those are their facts!  How dare you take those facts from them?

Acceptance

All kidding aside, the truth is that you can feel however you want about yourself.  You just need to accept that having those feelings are ok, and yet you are still lovable, and worthy of a meaningful, inspiring life filled with well-being and ease.  That is really the point, anyway.  Isn’t it?  All the descriptors that we have previously mentioned do not determine whether you will live a good life.  In fact, being full of socially idolized qualities may fill your life with superficial, opportunistic relationships that leave you feeling very unfulfilled.

In the end, the things we fear make us less than others are really just ways of describing someone based on what we have learned socially.  Every culture, and every generation has supported different attributes, so it is not like there is a definitive catalogue of must have qualities to live a good life.  If you search your heart, you will find that what you want most is to have a good life, to be accepted, to be appreciated, and to be loved, but if you want all of these things, then you have to be kind, gentle, and supportive to yourself. 

Unconditional Love

Your greatest goal must be to show up with love on even your darkest, most self-critical days because that it is the true sign of unconditional love.  Anybody can do the work on easy days, but we don’t long deeply for acceptance on our easy days.  We long for acceptance on our hardest days.  And, this acceptance is available all of the time.  You just have to promise to work towards it every day, right where you are, and not give up when times are tough, or when being superficial and judgmental just seem easier.

Our deepest flaws exist to give us the most sincere opportunity to give ourselves self-compassion.  You cannot fake it here.  These flaws really make you feel bad to your core, so your attempts at self-compassion must be genuine because you are too smart to be fooled when it comes to your “facts.”  May you accept yourself just as you are.  May you be kind to yourself.  May you never give up this journey, when self-acceptance appears out of reach, and may you bathe in it completely, when it is available.  In this way, it is a lot like raising a teenager.  They don’t always tell you that they love you, but deep down you know it is true, and you allow your love for them to persevere.

365 Days Of Self-Compassion.  Day 210.  In The Books.

Timing Is Everything: 3 Easy Stages To Transition From Criticism To Compassion

A Matter Of Time

What separates an empowered self-compassionate response to difficulty, challenge, or potential criticism is all a matter of time.  We are all presented with problems.  All of these problems cause us pain.  We will, indeed, see more problems in our lifetime.  But, we have three choices: self-compassion, escape/avoidance, or criticism.  With self-compassion, we can go through tough times, give ourselves the space to understand our experience, and persevere with insight and kindness.  With escape/avoidance, we can just as easily be freaked out by tough experiences, and try to escape them when they arise, or try to avoid them altogether, but we learn little, and fear their return.

Finally, with criticism, we can endure tough times, and motivate ourselves with criticism, giving ourselves too much credit for the onset of suffering, and too little credit for its tolerance.  We observe pain as it arises, but have a subjective bias towards shame and blame that might motivate us to work harder in the short run, but it also strips us of well-being and a positive self-concept.

Three Easy Stages To Transition From Avoidance And Criticism To Self-Compassion

Most of us have spent our lives responding to adversity with avoidance or criticism.  So, it only makes sense that we give ourselves time to transition to more adaptive, self-compassion practices.  When we have used certain responses for so long, they are burned into our brain as automatic instructions.  I have developed a three stage process that honors our past responses, while making space for new ones to interrupt these old instructions, to become aware of other viable responses, and lastly to utilize these new skills.  The stages are called: What if? What can I do? Let’s try this.

What if?

During the first stage, people are made aware of self-compassionate methods to monitor stress, anxiety, pain etc., and how to respond to these experiences with self-compassion.  But, once the stressor comes up, we have only moments to respond, and the brain goes directly to our past responses.  In light of this activity, we start to open up the possibility for a potential self-compassionate response by saying, “What if?”  “What if I tried responding to this problem with self-compassion?”

What can I do?

During the second stage, the stressor comes back, and again our immediate choice is limited to past responses, but we are aware that it is possible to respond with self-compassion, so we extend this possibility by asking, “What can I do?’  In other words, what are some self-compassionate options to this specific issue?

Let’s Try This

By stage three, you think to yourself that you have already tried it the old way several times, and you are simply tired of the results you are getting.  So, you say to yourself, “Let’s try this.”  You think of potential self-compassionate actions, and you choose one.  Voila!  You are now operating out of self-compassion!

Compassion For The Stages

We follow these three stages to have compassion for ourselves.  It is hard to unlearn old behaviors, and learn new ones.  It is hard to trust that something outside our own knowledge might be helpful.  To be honest, we are afraid of being even more disappointed than we are now.  At times, it seems too much to ask to get our hopes up.  We recognize these challenges, and because of them, we slowly create enough space to just try a self-compassionate response. 

In this way, you honor the challenge of transitioning to a new tool set, while setting yourself up for success.  You also develop your own, sincere style for bringing self-compassion to your experience, which means that you own it, can modify it, and can get rid of it if you decide never to use it again.  This will help you trust self-compassion and yourself, which makes you infinitely more powerful with respect to your well-being, your contentment, and your ability to tolerate and persevere through challenging obstacles.  Anything can be done in good time.  Timing is everything.

365 Days Of Self-Compassion.  Day 192.  In The Books.

Self-Compassion For Isolation

Bad Weather Can Lead To Isolation

We all need self-compassion for isolation, especially because it is one of the sneakier problems to have.  A spout of bad weather keeps you at home, which you make the best of by watching something on television, curling up in front of a good book, and cooking something savory that you have planned to do for months.  When the weather is bleak for multiple days, we often get used to this routine, and find comfort in our self-reliance.  This is all well and good until one day we realize that we feel lonely, but by this time going out and connecting with people has become so foreign that we struggle to take first steps.  We imagine these feelings will pass, but one day soon, we find ourselves following the brush strokes of paint on our ceilings, and then it hits us.  We feel isolated.

It is important to note how common this scenario is, especially if you live in a place that is prone to harsh weather conditions at certain times of the year.  Our immediate reaction is to try to downplay these feelings, but after a while that little bit of isolation feels like a lot of depression.  While some fantasize that depression is a restful state in which you spend hours luxuriously wrapped up in silk sheets, it is actually a very active, stressful, and burdensome state, which creates social anxiety, negative self-thoughts, and pessimism about the chances of ever living a happy life.

Of course, if you realize early in the process that you are becoming socially isolated, you might feel that you have the means and opportunity to reach out to family and friends.  In many cases, we are just too busy to notice it until it’s too late.  With this in mind, let’s look at a self-compassionate means of managing this isolation, so that we can return to a state of well-being, connection, and hope.

Three Easy Steps To Treat Your Isolation Symptoms Successfully

First, notice the feeling of isolation, name it, and soften around the areas of your body that are filled with tension.  Second, acknowledge that you come by it naturally.  “There sure have been a lot of gloomy days.  No wonder I decided to stay in side.”  Third, think about how you might be kind to yourself.  “I should call Paula, and see if she will meet me for dinner, coffee, or drinks tomorrow.” 

As your discomfort with venturing out or acknowledging your isolation comes up, return to the previous two steps, including the third step, when you want to make an extra effort.  Remember, sometimes we need time away from the things we value most to establish our priorities with respect to self-compassion, and our core values.

365 Days Of Self-Compassion.  Day 190.  In The Books.

Making Sense Out Of Making Cents

Put Some Money In My Pocket

I get asked a lot of questions about self-compassion, but one of the most interesting is how it can make people money.  I get the, “Yeah, yeah.  So, now I can be good to myself, but how can self-compassion put money in my pocket?”  Of course, I would love to start highlighting the money saved on health, unnecessary doo-hickees and doo-dads, and watcha-ma-call-its because your self-compassion is grounding, fulfilling, inspiring, and good for your body, but I don’t.

Instead, I ask people how much money they would like to make.  Once they have come up with a number, I kick the tires a little bit, and ask if they have included spending money, school for their future kids, and equity.  Normally, the number grows.  Then, I ask them how much they would need to compensate for a job, a significant other, friends, and an overall life that falls short of filling them up.  Gasps and numbers in the millions and billions tend to be the average response.

Long Term Satisfaction And Support

In truth, we can always get more money, but it is really hard to get a better life.  If you surround yourself with smart, hardworking, passionate, thoughtful people, it is likely that they will share their secrets for success.  However, other people help you understand your needs and wishes well enough to guarantee long-term satisfaction.  For that, you will need a healthy self-compassion practice. 

A Self-Compassion Exercise For Your Monetary Concerns

If after this, money problems still have you down, I have a quick exercise to remedy your issues.  First, you want to establish a foundation of feeling good.  Start with the four basic self-compassion phrases.  May I be safe.  May I be peaceful.  May I be kind to myself.  May I accept myself just as I am.  Second, clear your mind by noticing each thought on the in-breath, and letting each thought go on the outbreath.  Third, place in your mind the three things you need most.  Fourth, write these three things down, and next to them write one thing you can do now, one thing you can do later, and one person you can call to help you accomplish this goal.  Fifth, visualize completing the tasks in step four, and notice how your body feels during the process.  Sixth, lock in a time in the next two weeks to accomplish these three goals, and finish by saying, “If you did no more than you have done right now, you would still be enough.”

Man Made Money.  Money Never Made The Man.

Problem solved!  Money, health, warmth, and well-being, you have all these things.  If you truly wish to be kind to yourself, then work on your self-compassion practice.  Give yourself permission to make mistakes, and accept that you are adding to someone, who is already fundamentally complete.  Then, no matter what you do you will never forget what is important, and you will always make money work for you instead of the other way around.

365 Days Of Self-Compassion.  Day 186.  In The Books.

You Can’t Get More Sleep, But You Can Get More Energy

More Sleep? 

People ask me a lot of questions about self-compassion, but one of my favorites involves sleep.  I think that I like it because I know how prevalent an issue interrupted sleep is, and sleep deprivation, and how little support people get for its sometimes very harsh effects.  When I am asked about sleep, people almost always want to know how they can get more hours of sleep?  The kicker is always that they do not actually have more time in the day to sleep.  They just wish they had more.

Most people cannot find more time to sleep, and the ones that can often struggle to sleep anyway.  The latter group feels even more disappointed, when they schedule more hours, and reap the same benefits.  Self-Compassion is about acceptance, so instead of adding more hours, we find ways to be a little more accepting to fill you with more hope, optimism, and helpful energy.  A side effect to this process is that it normally increases the amount or at least the quality of sleep too.  The poor sleep-better energy plan is a three-step process.

Three Steps To More Energy

Step One, acknowledge that it is not your fault that you cannot sleep or your job to make yourself sleep.  Sleep is something that we come by naturally.  You cannot actually force yourself to sleep, so the good news is that you are not deserving of any blame or self-criticism, when you are getting less than ideal sleep.  We honor this reality when sleep is not happening or is disturbed, and because not sleeping really stinks, we find a way to comfort and be kind to ourselves.  The best parents always comforted their children, who struggled to sleep, and it always worked.  We are older, but evolutionarily and genetically responsive to the same efforts, even when they come from ourselves.

Step Two, Find something to do that will keep your mind just busy enough, so that you are not lost in reflection about not sleeping or tomorrow, but not so busy that it wakes you up more.  No matter what time of the night or morning it is, it is not tomorrow.  Tomorrow does not start until you have to be awake to manage your responsibilities.  Thoughts about tomorrow can wait.  Spend your time right now taking really good care of yourself.  Taking the time to relax and rejuvenate, even if you are not fully asleep, will have very positive affects for tomorrow’s efforts.

Step Three, when you wake up, stick to your basic routine. A lot of people wake of after a night of disturbed sleep or prolonged insomnia, and decide that they are going to change their routine a lot to compensate for the poor sleep.  This is a mistake.  Your body and mind are grounded by routines, which allow them to rest easier and recover.  Especially, when recovering from a poor night’s sleep, you want to be able to rely on these routines to feel well, and also to prime yourself for just another day.

More Energy And Eventually Better Sleep

If you follow these three steps, you should have more energy, and in time, will probably sleep better and longer because your worries will be balanced with self-compassion, kindness, and good self-care.  Kids don’t need to not have nightmares.  They just need somebody to reassure and love them, when they do to be able to rediscover restful sleep. 

Your age will not change this secret.  So, forget about infomercials that promise you 25 different pillows, sleep mattresses, or ways you can proactively work while other people sleep.  They may be fun, but they will not be restful.  What you really need is just the self-compassion to take yourself off the hook for poor sleep, and to comfort yourself with warmth, affection, and some light distraction.

365 Days Of Self-Compassion.  Day 184.  In The Books.

What Am I So Afraid Of?

Wishing For Different

Sure, self-compassion can help me, when I am already down, but what about when I am just afraid to live my life the way I want to?

Every day people look at their lives, and wish there was something different about them.  They think about their jobs, their relationships, their health, their hopes, and their dreams.  Deep down inside, they just want to feel at home in their bodies, be inspired by their lives, and feel loved by those they admire most. 

These wishes come with unique challenges.  To find inspiration, you must seek out and immerse yourself in what fills your heart and opens your mind.  To feel at home in your body, you must commit to self-understanding, forgiveness, and acceptance.  And, if you truly desire to be loved by those you admire most, you must first love and admire yourself.

The Catch

You can have all of these things, but there is a catch.  The catch is that you must act.  Most people are afraid of action because they worry that they will fail.  Yet, it is not the failure, but rather the worry that keeps most people from having their ideal life.  What if I fail?  What if people judge me?  What if I look stupid?  What if I work really hard, and have nothing to show for it?

After all of the hard work of considering the “what ifs,” people need a break, and find a diversion to drive the stress away.  This makes sense.  If you work really hard, then you need a break, but why do people spend so much time working on worry?

People worry for two reasons.  First, people have way too many options.  If you only had one option, you would not need to worry.  You would just do that thing.  Today, there are so many possible ways to live your life that people have become indecisive, anxious, and stressed.  Second, social media and technology have made it possible for people to both film and satirize your life.  Ever seen a fail video?  You know who those videos do not help?  Every single person, who has a dream that worries about failing, which ps. is most people.

A Quick Exercise To Minimize Worry, And Maximize Your Life Wishes

So, how do we minimize worry, and maximize your wishes for inspiration, health, and love?  We do two things.  First, we accept failure with self-compassion.  Failure is a necessary part of living a great life.  Since I cannot know exactly what is necessary to live a full life, I will have to make some well-intentioned mistakes along the way to figure out where I need to go, and what I need to do.  Second, imagine the future you, 10 years, 20 years, 30 years down the line, and make compassionate choices that serve that person.  In other words, the goal of self-compassion is to be able to be kind to the you that is living right now, but in the meantime take the bridge of helping somebody else (which always seems easier), and help future you.

Future You

Future you does not care so much about what the people around you think.  Future you knows that the people, who love you want you to be what makes you happy.  If you want to live out your days as a dinosaur, do it!  We will love you anyway.  The purpose of life is to live it fully.  Criticism is about avoiding life by focusing on someone or something else.  Notice, but do not be distracted by the critics.  If they understood life, then they would be focused on their own.  Make it your goal to love and cherish yourself and your supporters so much that when you face the question of embracing a life well-lived, you can say with a wry smile, “So what am I so afraid of?” 

365 Days Of Self-Compassion.  Day 183.  In The Books.