• Mindful Mondays | Self Compassion Series: Why We Resist Self-Compassion

    Mindful Mondays | Self Compassion Series: Why We Resist Self-Compassion

    In modern society, attributes such as strength, drive, and success are highly valued. While compassion is often seen as a virtue when directed toward others, it is frequently regarded as a less desirable soft skill. Moreover, the idea of extending compassion to oneself is often met with resistance. Many people perceive self-compassion as a sign of weakness or self-indulgence, failing to recognize its potential to enhance overall well-being.

    There are a few reasons I’ve come across for this resistance. One is due to a fear that it is “corny” or “cheesy.” I heard someone say once, “you can be cheesy or you can be free.” As we go deeper through this journey together I may offer some variations or you can create your own that are cheesy-lite and more suitable to your palate. Compassion requires both courage and wisdom. Acting with courage in the absence of wisdom can be reckless, like jumping into a river to save a drowning person when you don’t know how to swim—this isn’t heroic and only adds another person who needs saving. Conversely, having wisdom without the courage to act is equally ineffective. So I ask you, do you have the courage to embrace a little cheesiness

    Some people resist self-compassion out of fear that it is selfish. While it is true that others may have it worse and that striving to help them is admirable, turning compassion towards yourself does not take much time, especially with practice. In fact, self-compassion can expand our capacity for compassion towards others. As we become more openhearted with ourselves, we feel closer to and more accepting of others

    Another reason people may resist directing grace toward themselves is discomfort. Traumatic experiences in childhood can make accessing compassion difficult. Our ability to offer kindness stems from a caring area of the brain, but when this area is linked to traumatic memories, activating it can evoke fear, overwhelming grief, and sadness. Learning to engage this caring system for ourselves, particularly with the guidance of a trusted therapist, can significantly enhance the healing process.

    Even those without traumatic experiences might resist self-kindness due to a competitive drive toward success and accomplishments. People search for happiness outside of themselves and fear that through embracing compassion, they will become complacent. They hold on to a limiting belief that if I blame and criticize myself, I’ll improve until I reach my goal. However, this is not the case. In fact, compassion can be a powerful tool, particularly for ambitious individuals. Knowing that you support yourself, that you will be there to have your own back, reduces fear and can bolster your drive, allowing you to pursue your goals with greater resilience and confidence. 

    As we move through this series on Self-Compassion, I’ll dive deeper as I teach you how we got here and what role our brains play along with the many benefits of this practice. I’ll go over three components of self-compassion and how it can play a role in parenting as well as in our relationships. If you feel you need support along the journey, reach out for a free consultation.