Practicing Self Compassion

Having had the honor of listening to clients for over 28 years, I know that it’s very easy for people to fall into patterns of self-judgement, self-criticism, and even self-harm.  In fact, depression, anxiety, and relationship conflict are often exacerbated by self- judgment:  “What’s wrong with me?”  “Why am I such an idiot?”  “I’m a loser.”

In my own life, a pattern of self-criticism has arisen around my need for sleep. I need an extraordinary amount of sleep – always have.  And if I don’t get my requisite nine hours, I cannot function well.

Recently, I was in a community theater production of “Oliver”.  After three months of rehearsals and performances I needed sleep, sleep and extra sleep.  I found myself conserving energy by saying no to friends for lunch, skipping family functions, and avoiding evening engagements.  Suddenly, the old nagging voice was heard:  “Why do you need so much sleep?  What’s wrong with you?”

I knew it was time for self-compassion. When I first became aware of the critical voice, I reminded myself that everyone’s body is different.  I sympathized with myself that it’s challenging (and humbling) to feel one’s physical limitations.  And then I was able to be grateful for all that my body is capable of.  With this foundation of self-compassion, I was able to better care for myself:  trust my body, get to bed early, and be grateful for sleep.

Self compassion is your best self-care.

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