What if you acknowledged that you were struggling today?
Is it okay that you are not the most beautiful, most popular, fittest, or most successful?
Or, will you beat yourself up because you are not a rising star?
Is your self-esteem crushed when you don’t measure up?
Does it pain you to be average?
The truth is, many of us struggle with self-perceptions that are performance-based.
We pat ourselves on the back one moment for winning a contest and kick ourselves in the backside five minutes later for failing to win the next.
Depending on the circumstance, we wrestle with self-esteem, constantly building ourselves up and tearing ourselves down based on how well we overcome our own mediocrity, insecurities, and failures.
What would it be like if you could you just accept yourself?
Could you put away competition and self-evaluation for your own peace of mind? Could you be kind to yourself, no matter what?
Self-compassion allows you to offer yourself the freedom of mercy, the comfort of sympathy, and the relief of support you would provide to a frazzled, anxious friend.
A pioneer in the study of self-compassion, Dr. Kristen Neff, author of Self Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind, notes that self-compassion is the enriching and transformative process of becoming your own friend.
Research during the last decade indicates that self-compassion is a more beneficial practice than traditional attempts to build self-esteem. Actively showing yourself loving-kindness bolsters connection and supports more intimate relationships.
How Self-compassion beats Self-esteem
For decades, high self-esteem has been the ultimate goal, touted by self-help books and life coaches. Yet, self-esteem is a trophy chased and briefly won, only to be lost again as we struggle to maintain our successes.
The highs and lows of self-esteem wear away at your ability to be you.
Your ability to feel good becomes chained to your performance.
If self-esteem depends on the quest for superiority, it creates a certain amount of anxiety.
Self-esteem says, “Do more. Be more.”
There isn’t much space for internal contentment or forgiveness.
There isn’t much grace for coming up short.
Conversely, self-compassion alleviates the need to compare and perform for self-worth.
Self-compassion comforts, supports, and affirms no matter what.
There is no need to feel that your averageness makes you useless.
You need not beat yourself up for being tired, unmotivated, or inadequate.
You always have value and importance regardless of attractiveness, intelligence, or success.
Exercise the 3 Elements of Self-compassion
1. Devote yourself to self- kindness: Freely offer yourself tolerance and sympathy. Resist the urge to judge your life and choices harshly. Allow that inadequacy is inevitable. Self-kindness relieves you of the need to engage in unproductive self-criticism, anxiety, and achievement-oriented stress.
2. Embrace your common humanity: Seeing yourself as part of an interdependent life system recognizes the struggle all people face. Flaws, flops, and unexpected factors make life hard for everyone at times. You are not alone. There is no need to feel isolated when you recognize that everyone is inherently vulnerable and seeking to be understood.
3. Meditate on how things really are: Soothe your suffering self-esteem by mindfully witnessing the moments of your life. Acknowledge your success and failures. Simply look at your experiences for what they are, without qualifications or disclaimers. Allow outside pressure to fall away, learn life lessons, and move on.
Self-compassion is understanding who you are, accepting who you are, loving who you are.
Whether you win the race or come in last.
Self-compassion is an unconditional wellspring of loving-kindness, transparency, and acceptance, even when you are less than the best.