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Self compassion

Monday, February 18, 2019

I was making a mistake at work over a period of time. On some level I was becoming aware of it bit by bit. My attention was suddenly drawn to it by someone in a tactful way. My motivation for the mistake was a good one, but I should have spotted that there were problems with it earlier than I did. I felt ashamed, and I thought I would probably do what I usually do and spend three days beating myself up about it, but I decided to try to do things differently this time and try to be kind to myself instead of beating myself up.

The first task was to work out exactly what was wrong with what I did. The next thing was to decide how bad of a mistake it was. I decided on a scale of one to ten, It rated a five or less. The next thing was to decide how to fix it. At first, I thought to modify it, and then I decided to cut it out. It’s easy. I just won’t do it any more.

Then I thought that nobody goes through life without making mistakes and I could use the experience to have a less judgmental attitude to myself and I can extend it to being less judgmental about other people’s mistakes too. I didn’t beat myself up for three days as I usually would - I felt uncomfortable for two days and then got over it (more or less).

On the third day, I did a bothersome chore for DH which is necessary because he can’t do it for himself (disability). I usually feel irritable when I do it, but this time, I didn’t. I wondered if taking a milder attitude to myself extended to him too and caused me to take a softer attitude to doing the chore.

I’ve been looking into the concept of self-compassion. Kristin Neff has written a book about it and done a TED talk. The concept didn’t originate with her but apparently she’s done the most research on it. It may be helpful for many of us on Spark who have problems with accepting our bodies and accepting ourselves.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I truly believe it's very difficult to feel compassion for others when we are denying compassion to ourselves. We are NOT held to a standard of perfection: you responded appropriately and quickly to the tactful suggestion of your colleague!! Well done. And I will be checking out Kristin Neff, so thanks for the resource!
    579 days ago
    Wow - what a fantastic lesson - now - did Kristen Neff prompt you to treat yourself better in this case? How cool. And what a great side effect - to be able to be kinder to others once you were kinder to yourself. Off to track down this book. So - one more side effect - you've inspired others. Thanks!
    579 days ago
    Oh that terrible feeling when we're being called out for a mistake.
    Good job turning it around!
    581 days ago
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    Will check that out - thanks
    584 days ago
    It is so nice you practiced compassion for yourself, and extended the positive feeling to your husband too.
    I'm happy for you!
    585 days ago
    We are so often our own worst enemy, good for you for realizing and remembering to be your own best friend instead emoticon
    585 days ago
    Good. You picked yourself up, dusted yourself off, figured out how to fix it, forgave yourself, and got on with life. You're not alone in holding on to the feeling of shame and failure and wishing you can undo what's been done. It's times like this in my own life that I remember a coworker who would put things in perspective by reminding me that, whatever mistakes were made, nobody died.
    585 days ago
    I think you had a great awareness regarding self love = compassions to others. I’m working on self love compassion as well.
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    585 days ago
    It's great that you were able to recover quickly from the bad feeling of having made a mistake. I promise I'm not exaggerating when I tell you that in my long-ago youth and well into adulthood, I went so far as to want to kill myself for making mistakes--all kinds of mistakes, big and small, work or family or personal-related. Even when other people didn't even know I had made a mistake, I would feel so bad about myself that I wanted to self-delete, but when other people did know about my mistake--oh, the shame!

    And at the risk of always writing too much about myself in response to your blogs, I'll say that I've been able to do recently what you describe in this blog--get control over the shame and self-hatred that I always used to feel for not being perfect. I read something here on SP recently--can't remember where and I don't remember it word for word, but it went something like this--You have to be young and stupid before you can be old and wise. You know, that sounds so obvious, but I had never really stopped to think about it. I had always just strongly, strongly assumed that I should have been born with all the wisdom I needed and that I would naturally skip the stupid part. But now I'm in my sixties, and I'm still making mistakes and still learning, and I guess the wisdom now comes in the form of more compassion and understanding about my natural human condition of being imperfect.

    I'm glad you're feeling peaceful again and that your compassion extended to your DH.
    585 days ago
    I wonder why we’re kinder to other people than we are to ourselves? Good job not being hard on yourself.
    585 days ago
    good job not beating yourself up! For sure we all make mistakes. And learning the lesson is the important part of the whole process so the mistake isn't repeated. That's what you're doing so good for you!

    585 days ago
    585 days ago
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