In this article you’re going to learn about how to use self-compassion as a powerful source of growth and change. And when I talk about self-compassion, I’m not talking about “Oh, just excuse yourself for your bad behaviors”; I’m saying “No, love yourself as you are, and that can be the greatest source of creating change.” So let’s talk about how to use self-compassion to create change in yourself.
Daylight savings is coming up, and winter is around the corner, and you know what that means: less serotonin. The light that enters your eyes sends a message to your brain about how much serotonin to make, and that’s why a lot of people experience more depression symptoms in the winter. But it’s treatable. Light therapy with professional lamps has been shown to be very effective at treating the symptoms of depression, seasonal affective disorder, and PMDD.
I really like my light from Carex, and I use it in the winter. And I’m teaming up with Carex to give away three free daylight classic plus therapy lamps. When you see something in yourself that you don’t like, how do you treat yourself? Do you try to get rid of your faults by punishing yourself or criticizing yourself? I mean, for example, do you call yourself lazy or fat because you think that criticizing yourself will help you change? Or when you mess up do you say, “Oh, I’m such an idiot. I’m so stupid.
You can’t shame yourself wealthy. Real change begins with self-love and self-protection. “Fear and self-punishment can inspire a brief burst of energy, but it’s never a permanent form of motivation. So first, take a moment and think about the pain of treating yourself. Can you have compassion on yourself for how it hurts to be treated so harshly? To break this cycle, we need to really look at our values and decide how to live those values toward others and ourselves.
So for example, if we believe in being kind, then we need to be kind toward our own weaknesses. We we can’t try to get rid of unkindness by being harsh with ourselves. I need to be honest with myself and my fault, but I can also be compassionate and kind toward myself as I struggle to improve. Step number two: see if you can find a kinder, gentler way to motivate yourself to change.
Imagine what a loving friend or mentor would say to you to help you improve yourself but, you know, in a loving and supportive way. So it might sound something like this: “I know you don’t want to be acting this way. How can I support you as you try to improve?” Or “No matter what choices you make, I love you.” Or “This is really hard for you. It’s it’s hard to make mistakes.
But we all do them. Let’s just look for one small way to change or improve. He completely screwed his life up, and in the process he was unable to take care of his son named Red. You should go and read this story. He tells about the deepest lows of addiction and the self-destructive behaviors and how he got sober. But his addiction really stems from self-hatred, as a result of some of the sexual assaults he suffered as a child, but blamed himself for those abuses. He said, “They didn’t neglect me. I wasn’t violent. That’s why you screwed me up so much.
It left me feeling so ashamed, and it just kept happening. I didn’t know how to stop it. I couldn’t escape. He was giving me liquor, and by the time I was 14 he was giving me cocaine. And I get into drugs because it was my only escape. Sometimes I hate myself a lot, and I’ll take a look at Red and think about all the trauma I’ve caused him. “Now you can see how this spiral of shame and self-hatred can easily escalate into more and more substance abuse.
I liked school. I enjoyed making people proud of me. I think I was happy. I remember having such feelings before the abuse. There wasn’t anything left to be proud of, so I just burned down the rest of it.I burned him with heroin and he decomposed until I was finally forced to face him because if I didn’t, I would lose my son. That’s what I want you to know, boy. All that happened to your father. You almost saved me because I always loved you more than I hated myself.
This man couldn’t hate himself into changing. He couldn’t hate himself into stopping his drug addiction. The only thing that pulled him out was love. When you mess up, treat yourself like you would a friend who made a similar mistake. Lovingly hold yourself accountable, but work hard to improve. Don’t allow yourself to abuse yourself. You’re not allowed to call yourself names or label yourself as defective. That’s not only unhelpful, but it’s also an excuse.
So instead, look for ways of speaking to yourself that help you become the person you want to be. The third step to practicing self-compassion so that you can grow is: going forward, when you catch yourself being harsh or judgmental toward your unwanted trait, first just notice how that hurts you. Notice the pain of your self-judgment, and respond to that pain with compassion towards yourself.
Then try to find another way to speak to yourself that’s encouraging and helpful.If you really want a lasting form of motivation for change, love is more powerful than fear. I believe it is selfcompassion.org. So if you’d like to learn more about self-compassion, check that out.Emotion processing is a key skill in working through strong emotions, but most people have never learned it.