Happy Monday, dear, dear friends! And still the snow is falling as I begin writing this blog! I’m practicing gratitude and acceptance so much right now!
Today let’s explore the idea of self-compassion. What does it mean to be compassionate toward yourself? Basically, it means treating yourself the same way you would treat your best friend and/or someone you love.
This is more challenging than it seems! I still struggle with being less judgmental towards myself and more loving and accepting. I am certainly my own biggest critic!
On the other end of this spectrum is self-pity. This is when we become so self-absorbed in our own troubles and woes. We vibrate from a low level of energy and get caught up in the feeling that we have an unfair share of burdens and problems.
The middle ground between being overly critical and overly pitying toward oneself is self-compassion. Like life and yoga, this is a tough balancing act!
To find that middle ground, remember that you are a part of common humanity. And that part of our shared human experience encompasses all of our mistakes, struggles and imperfections. So, compassion isn’t a ‘poor me’ feeling, it’s just recognizing that life is difficult for everyone at some points.
Coupled with remembering our deep connection to humanity (and all other living things part of planet Earth), is the practice of mindfulness. It refers to the ability to step outside yourself and see what’s happening, see that things may be difficult or you’re struggling, and hold that suffering in mindful awareness as opposed to getting lost in it or overly identifying with it.
Like yoga and life, self-compassion is a lifelong practice. Here are some ways you can begin to be kinder to yourself and ultimately kinder and more compassionate toward every living creature that you meet.
1. Stop taking yourself so seriously! Remember you’re doing the best you can, and that will always be enough. That certainly doesn’t mean stop trying; it means give your best in each moment and trust in the process. I certainly use humor as a way to cope with the madness that life brings my way. I strongly believe that laughter is truly the best medicine!
2. Carve out time for self-care every day! If we’re lucky, we get a whole hour to practice yoga at our favorite YBD studio! Some days that simply isn’t feasible. Then spend 15 minutes meditating or journaling. Treat yourself to a bubble bath. Go for a short walk. Drop down and do 10 burpees. Do one small thing that will elevate your spirit and help you de-stress.
3. Start practicing gratitude! When we are grateful for what we have, we realize that everything is enough. What we have is enough. Who we are is enough.
4. Perform random acts of kindness toward perfect strangers! Pay for the person’s coffee in line behind you. Allow that person in the seeming hurry to cut you off in traffic with a wave.
Make eye contact and genuinely smile at someone passing by. I do that all the time, and I find it interesting how people react to it! It becomes a social experiment, and I can readily see how open or closed off people are!
As we practice kindness towards others, it becomes easier to be kind to ourselves. It also shift our focus from ‘poor me’ to how good it feels to connect with others.
5. Take a couple minutes each morning and evening or even before and after your yoga practice to tell yourself that you love yourself. And remind yourself of the reasons why.
And most importantly, remember we’re looking for progress not perfection. Like yoga, it’s consistency and dedication to the practice that yields the greatest transformation. And we call it yoga practice, not yoga perfect!
Can’t wait to see you on your mat this week!
PS Another round of our 21 day cleanse is coming up in a couple of weeks!!!!