Moving toward Self-Compassion

#SelfCompassion.  For me the simplest way to define it is ‘being kind to self.’   This is not self-indulgence nor is it selfishness.  It is about kindness.  It is about softness, this is not the same as weakness.   It’s about challenging your own unkind thoughts to yourself, quieting the inner critic, telling yourself it’s OK, that you are enough, that you did enough, and that tomorrow is another day.   This has been an overloaded week due to upcoming office move at the end of this month of April.   Lots of tedious planning, notifications to submit,  extra computer time to update so many business webportals with new information.   Tedious work for the most part, which allows for comments to self like… “Are you sure you’re making the right decision?”  “There are so many details you will never get throught this.”  “You really should have given this more thought.”  Are you fettimg the idea?  A lot of second guessing, and self-doubt.   The challenge is to not get into beating myself up about it.   A decision was made for various reasons, and one has to continue to move forward.   Saying things like “You really have given this thought, and based on the information you had a decision had to be made.” “You looked at multiple options and it is good you made a decision.”  “You are making the most of your time and need to cut yourself some slack.” That is what brings us to self-compassiom because beating yourself up gets you nowhere and encouragement is what helps get us to the next step.And as you keep moving be kind to yourself.  Remember to enjoy the ride and like yourself in the process. 

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Challenging your Thoughts Leads to Self-Compassion

Are you ready to make some changes in your thinking? Are you ready to change the negative messages you tell yourself?   Well let’s do this!  From my last post I mentioned we would start to identify the types of negative self-talk a/k/a cognitive distortions.    Which ones do you identify with the most?  Magnification and Minimization: Exaggerating or minimizing the importance of events. Catastrophizing: Seeing only the worst possible outcomes of a situation. Overgeneralization: Making broad interpretations from a single or few events.  Magical Thinking: The belief that acts will influence unrelated situations. Personalization: The belief that one is responsible for events outside of their own control.  Jumping to Conclusions: Interpreting the meaning of a situation with little or no evidence.  Mind Reading: Interpreting the thoughts and beliefs of others with little evidence.  Fortune Telling: The expectation that a situation will turn out badly without adequate evidence.  Emotional Reasoning: The assumption that emotions reflect the way things really are.  Disqualifying the Positive: Recognizing only the negative aspects of a situation while ignoring the positive.  The belief that things should be a certain way.  All-or-Nothing Thinking: Thinking in absolutes such as always or never.   It takes practice just like working that rubics cube. 

It is what you think that affects your mood, which affects your behavior, and keeps you stuck in a negative cycle lacking in self-compassion.  We will keep talking about this and explore further so you can keep learning to identify and challenge those negative self-defeating thoughts. Til next time… 

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Challenging that Negative Self-Talk #selfcompassion

We have all kinds of messages/thoughts running through our minds at any given time.    Remember, just because you think it, it does not make it true ! Thoughts/beliefs that make you believe you are “not good enough, only perfection can be good enough,  or I’ll always be alone” reinforce a “victim” mentality and keep you stuck in that negative mistaken belief system.    So what can you do instead?   In the midst of all the dark thoughts, challenge them and push through with a more realistic positive counter-punch!  You do matter!Remember the  questions from the previous blog post?  Here’s a brief cheat sheet:  Is this really true all the time?  Am I jumping to negative conclusions? How can I find out if my thoughts are actually true?  Are there any other ways that I could look at this situation?  If I were being positive, how would I look at the situation?  What is a more realistic statment that will get me unstuck and move me forward?  Once you identify and start to challenge the self-defeating thoughts it is time to create a positive realistic counter-statement.  Here are some examples:  “Just because I feel this way doesn’t make it true all the time; Just because I did not succeed in (fill in the blank) it is only a temporary setback;  Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, some of my strengths are (fill in the blank) and I can strengthen my so-called weaknesses;  I may feel lonely but I can reach out to friends, join a support group, develop a game plan that will help push through my fears.”  Are you getting the idea?   Additionally you need to receive the good, the positive, and look around and think about what you can be thankful/grateful for in the midst of difficulty.  Don’t allow yourself to be a victim in your life, don’t be your own worst enemy.   This requires practice, so don’t give up.   

Next time we will list the categories of #negativeselftalk also known as #cognitivedistortions.  Let us know what topics you would like to know more about.  The bottom-line? Be kinder to yourself in what you tell yourself 🙂  

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Changing the Inner Code #SelfCompassion #SelfTalk #SpringCleaning

What is that “list” of negative self-talk telling you?  Are you surprised how many negative statements you say to yourself? Now let’s take your list and ask yourself these questions about each statement in an exercise to challenge these #cognitivedistortions.  This is the How these Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTS) need to be challenged.  

The difficulty with one’s negative self-talk (your ANTS) is that it usually feels true. Even though your thoughts might often be biased or incorrect, you tend to assume that they’re facts. Just because you think or feel it doesn’t always make it true. 

How do we begin to change this negative false inner code?  It may seem overwhelming at first,  but practice is needed so please  don’t give up!  There are four main types of challenging questions to ask yourself:

1. Reality Testing~What is my evidence for and against my thinking?  Am I jumping to negative conclusions?  How can I find out if my thoughts are actually true?

2. Look for Alternative Explanations~Are there any other ways that I could look at this situation?  What else could this mean?  If I were being positive, how would I perceive this situation?  

3. Putting it in Perspective~What is the best thing that could happen?  Is there anything good about this situation?  Will this matter in five years?

4. Using Goal-Directed Thinking~Is this way of thinking helping me to achieve my goals?   What can I do that will help me solve the problem?  Is there something I can learn from this situation?

We will explore these further next time and practice how to implement these questions in your life as you work toward a healthier you.  

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Self-Compassion vs Negative Self-Talk …It’s about #SpringCleaning

Spring cleaning is in the air.  Time to clean out the thoughts that are dragging you down.  Today we are still identifying the what.  What are the negative messages in your head saying to you?  #Digdeep to unconver these messages as they can hide in dark corners and be directing your behaviors.  Just because these internal messages are there does not make them rational, true, or accurate.  Just because you “messed up” doesn’t mean you are “always” a mess-up.   Are you getting the idea?    This is where #selfcompassion steps in to challenge these #cognitivedistortions and create more accurate truthful compassionate statements about yourself. 

 We will look into the Where these messages come from as you progress, but it is important to identify What the messages are first.   In working with clients, we begin by  identifying the specific negative messages each person may be experiencing.  In many cases he/she didn’t even realize these messages were playing covertly in the background.   It is rewarding to see the light come on as we develop appropriate truthful counter-statements so they can move forward and live a more positive healthy life.   It takes work but it can be done!  Try it now.   Make that list everytime you call yourself a negative name.   How can you reframe that statement into something positive and more truthful.   More on this next time.  Thanks for reading and hope you start taking this first step.   🙂

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Self-Compassion vs Negative Self-Talk

First we will start with the What…What are all those thought bubbles saying about you?   Have you started to identify the critical statements  about yourself?  Go ahead and write them down on paper or on a phone app.   What names are you calling yourself?   How can you reframe and be kinder and gentler to yourself?  Rather than saying “I should have done better”  you can reframe and say “I did what I could today.”  The first statement is shaming, the second is more neutral.   

The inner critic is never satisfied and is always pushing for more but more is still not good enough.   It is never good enough for the inner perfectionistic critic.  Keep identifying those negative, shaming, name-calling statements.  Writing them down shines light so they can be stamped out.   More on this next time.  

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Your level of Self-Compassion

Are you up for the challenge of developing #selfcompassion?   What is it anyway? Isn’t that just being selfish?  Isn’t that un-Christian?  So many questions I know.   Gradually we will get to each of them.    Here is a quiz by Dr. Kristen Neff for you to take as you start on this journey.  Self Compassion Quiz

Stay tuned for this continued series…

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