We are so much nicer to other people than we are to ourselves. Research shows we don’t need more self discipline in life to meet our goals. We need more self compassion. Self compassion helps us to sleep better, it decreases anxiety, increases emotional and physical well being, leads to a greater sense of optimism. It’s not about being happy all the time or having every life circumstance work out in your favor. Life happens. The idea is to thrive rather than just survive. One way is to develop self-compassion.
Dr. Kristin Neff of the University of Texas, Austin is the leading authority on self-compassion. In case you think self-compassion will see you happily eating chips and ice cream on the couch all day, her findings show research makes it clear that self-compassion actually enhances our lives in practical ways as well, including greater personal responsibility, decrease in procrastination, greater progress toward goals.
So, what do we do when the drill-sergeant (our critical self) begins it’s diatribe? Start by calling it out. I am being hard on myself over or because… Next, talk to yourself as you would a good friend who is having difficulty. Use the kind, wise and warm manner you would use for that friend. Understand, you are not alone. People everywhere go through rough times, even suffering. It is all a part of life. Decide you will be kind to yourself in those moments and give yourself the compassion you need.
“Kind words are like honey, sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” –Proverbs 16:24.
Comments are welcomed.
I recently read and article by Gregg Krech on 4 points of Japanese psychology that really resonated for me. I thought I would pass the main points along.
Since so much of life is beyond our control, this skill is essential for our well-being. We can’t control other people, of course. Neither can we control the weather, the traffic, the stock market, or the price of gas. We can try to influence the external world, making our best persuasive efforts, for example, but we cannot control the outcome of our efforts. We can’t even control our own feelings or thoughts. We tend to overvalue our attempts to change what we don’t like and undervalue our capacity to accept what is.
2. Co-existing with Unpleasant Feelings
Learning to take action in a constructive and appropriate way, even when we don’t feel like it, is the essence of self-discipline. With practice, we can learn to tolerate uncomfortable feelings, rather than needing to monitor and change them into more pleasurable feeling states. We can learn to focus on what we are here to do, and allow our feelings to rise and fall, as they will. We can coexist with our feelings, rather than being derailed by them.
Our experience of life is based on what we pay attention to. Most of us put very little energy into developing skillful attention, but it can change the way we move through our lives as well as the experience we have moment to moment. Too often our attention is on our selves — our feelings, our thoughts, our ideas, our plans and regrets. This inner world can become a prison that prevents us from connecting and engaging with the richness and wonder of life around us. Working skillfully with attention is one of the most profound ways of enhancing your life.
Our relationships are generally what we most value in our lives, but they present us with some of our toughest challenges as well. The ability to reflect on ourselves is the key to maintaining healthy relationships, as well as cultivating a general sense of gratitude for all we have and for our life itself. Self-reflection often humbles us and softens our hearts to the challenges of others.
If we build our lives on a foundation of mindfulness, gratitude, compassion and purpose, then we have a sense of guidance in our lives, with meaning woven through our days.”
Comments are welcome.
I don’t know what the weather has been like where you are, but I can’t recall the last time there was a sun sighting. The new year has begun with lots of cloudy, gray, foggy, misty days or weeks. I can’t be sure any more. There’s been a report the sun will make an appearance this weekend. I’ll let you know. With all this dreariness, it seemed the right time to have some laughs. Here are some short quotes that I hope bring some smiles.
You can’t have everything. Where would you put it?
Silence is golden unless you have kids. Then silence is just plain suspicious.
A balanced diet means a cupcake in each hand.
Why did the dinosaur cross the road? Because chickens weren’t around yet.
Behind every great man is a woman rolling her eyes.
The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has it’s limits.
They say the older you get, the better you get...unless you are a banana.
People who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do.
Adults are always asking children what they want to be when they grow up because they are looking for ideas.
Here’s a list of things that look good in a leopard pattern: 1. Leopards. *End of list*
The trouble with housekeeping is that you make the beds, do the dishes and 6 months later you have to do it all over again. Joan Rivers
When I was a kid my parents moved a lot, but I always found them. Rodney Dangerfield
When things don’t go right, go left.
I’ve written several blogs about gratitude or mentioned it in others. Well, here we go again. This time will be short and sweet. I found a quote that offers an easy and delightful way to experience gratitude.
As you likely are aware, the practice of gratitude can have dramatic and lasting effects on our lives, it can lower blood pressure, improve immune function, promote happiness and well-being and spur acts of helpfulness, generosity and cooperation. There’s a great deal of established research supporting this.
You might say gratitude is like Netflix for our well-being -giving you JOY, enthusiasm, love, happiness and optimism on-demand (don't change that channel!
Now, here it is:
To appreciate life, you just have to be open for business.
Gorgeous, amazing things come into our lives when we are paying attention: mangoes, grandnieces, Bach, ponds … Astonishing material and revelation appear in our lives all the time. Let it be. Unto us, so much is given.
We just have to be open for business. -Anne Lamott
At this point, the second day of 2023, I have nothing to say that hasn’t already been said in a million different ways. So, let us just toast to a year filled with more kindness, more tolerance, good health, good will, more joy and many blessings. Happy New Year to all of you and yours.