I've been spending time reading a book on letting go of expectations and embracing your true self. It's been a very eye opening book and has hit me in the gut several times. I've felt like the author used me as a case study for the book.
The chapter that resonated most with me was the one on cultivating self-compassion. Now, I know I can be a very compassionate person...TO OTHERS. When it comes to myself, I am my own worse enemy. I point out every one of my flaws and am harder on myself that anyone else has ever been. Isn't that the case for the majority of women? I don't know about you, but I'm ready to break free from that cycle of "picking on myself" and becoming the woman God made me to be.
One of the first things I did when reading the chapter was take a self-compassion quiz. I answered each question as honestly as possible and at times felt shame I truly felt that way about myself. My self-kindness score was very low, but my common humanity score was high. Something has to change! You can take the quiz here http://www.self-compassion.org/test-your-self-compassion-level.html
After taking the test, I began a exercise on self-compassion and that is when everything came into perspective for me. It was like a ton of bricks dropping on my head. Wow...I truly could see what my lack of self-compassion was doing to me.
The exercise was simple:
Step one - think about a time when a friend was feeling really bad about herself or was struggling in some way. Think about what you, as her friend, did to help her in this situation. What did you do to help her see her as the world does?
Step two - think about a time when you felt bad about yourself or when you were struggling with a situation. How did you respond to yourself?
Step three - Did you notice a difference in the way you responded to your friend and a way you responded to yourself? If you answer honestly, you'll probably notice you were much more compassionate, giving and thoughtful to your friend that you were to yourself.
I like the concept of treating ourselves like we would one of our friends. There isn't a time I would not give of myself to help a friend. There isn't a time I wouldn't do all I could do to make my friend see all her amazing qualities. There isn't a single time I would leave my friend without her knowing her worth.
It's time to start treating ourselves like we do our friends. After all, they love us and are our biggest cheerleaders. Shouldn't we do the same for ourselves?