If you’re like me, you might need help to be kind to yourself when you mess up. Sometimes we respond immediately with self-criticism and have no idea how to be kind and compassion with ourselves instead.
I recently started a Facebook page http://facebook.com/TheSelfCompassionClub where I share lots of helpful tips about ways I and others are learning to be kind, compassionate and caring with ourselves as we walk through life. One of the things I share are stories of how everyday people, like you and me, can respond to themselves with compassion rather than criticism. I thought I’d tell you about my own “Self-Compassion in Action” story recently.
About one month ago I spoke to a MOPS group about “Self-Compassion for Moms”. I took extra care to videotape the talk with my iPhone, and got a special stand for it. I also decided to audiotape the talk with my digital recorder, just in case. I practiced with both methods and was all set!
Ten minutes into my talk, someone called me and it stopped the camera from recording, except I didn’t realize it had stopped recording at the time. I continued my talk and really enjoyed sharing with them how to be compassionate with themselves.
Then I got home and realized I only had the first ten minutes taped. I was sad and regretted that I didn’t think ahead about making sure my phone didn’t receive calls during the taping.
I decided to be kind to myself and said,
“I wish I’d thought that through…to figure out a solution ahead of time if someone called. I’ve never done this before, so it makes sense I didn’t think about that possibility ahead of time. Oh well, at least I have the audio recording I can use.”
I then began to download the audio recording to my computer to begin editing it. The problem was it wouldn’t download, no matter what I did, my husband did, or the tech guy I paid $40 to help me. So I had neither a video nor audio recording of this talk*.
It might not seem like a big deal, but it was to me because I have a progressive lung disease. Sometime in the future I won’t be able to do any more public speaking, which I love. Because of this, I am trying to record every talk I give now so I can post it on YouTube or Vimeo…so it is available when I’m not able to speak publically anymore. I was so disappointed and sad.
It was a mystery why the audio recording didn’t work because I’ve used this same recorder many times with no problems. I was really sad and upset about this. I cried a lot and went over and over in my mind trying to figure out what I did wrong, what I should have done, etc. After I cried, asked God to help me, and rested a bit,
I was able to be kind and say to myself,
“It is so upsetting and disappointing to do all that work to give this talk and not end up with any recording. I truly did all I knew to do, and it still didn’t work out. I’ve learned some things for next time that will help and I’ll get a new audio recorder. God knows how I feel and it is up to Him to get the word out about how important self-compassion integrated with our faith is. I did all I could, and the result is up to Him. Those attending the talk said that they were blessed by what I shared, and that is the most important thing. I think I’ll let myself feel sad and disappointed for a while, and let it go.”
How about you, are you open to press pause when you mess up and learn to say something kind to yourself instead?
I know it is a process…but working on it slowly a bit at a time truly works. God wants us to be able to accept the grace, understanding and love He has for us when we mess up…which for me is several times a day.
Here’s some tips to try:
1: Pick something that happened recently where you were critical of yourself
- Ask yourself: “What would the kindest person I know say to me about the mistake I made or the thing I regret?”
- Repeat that to yourself…A LOT – ”Sherry would say that…”
- Notice how it feels to let a little of those kind words sink in
So what about you? What is one small way you have been kind to yourself when you mess up? What situations do you need help with the most? I’d love to hear your comments below. Please share on social media or via e-mail with others who might benefit!
UPDATE on The Self-Compassion Club. Thanks so much to all of you who responded that “yes, you’d love to be a part of an online Self-Compassion Club”. I put up this public page on facebook last month and already have lots of interest, which tells me that many of us want a supportive community to learn about self-compassion and faith. You can check it out and “like” the page. https://www.facebook.com/TheSelfCompassionClub
* I do have a video on YouTube I recorded last year, “Self-Compassion for Moms” that I did as a Skype teaching to a group of Moms to far away for me to travel. Check it out if your are interested.