by K.C. Lomonaco, Psy.D., R.N.
These long days of summer have me staying up too late and languishing in my hammock and playing outdoors soaking in the sun and time with family and friends.
I am working on my own process of decompressing from the constant barrage of things and so I have been unplugged from social media and the like, putting me a bit behind the curve on my deadlines. In that though, I am also working on offering myself some grace. Offering ourselves grace can be challenging as we are often our own worst critics. I want to offer some thoughts here for how we can work on self compassion and grace as we continue to move through this beautiful summer and these challenging times.
Dr. Kristine Neff is a psychologist that specializes in self compassion work and writes that the three elements of self compassion are: SELF-KINDNESS vs self-judgment, COMMON HUMANITY vs isolation and MINDFULNESS vs over-identification.
The work is to begin to accept ourselves as we are and to be both tender and fierce in meeting our needs and moving towards compassion for ourselves in the face of events or people who want to degrade our confidence or compassion in or for ourselves. We must be kind to ourselves when we mess up and not judge ourselves. We must continue to move forward and not give up. Just because we mess up today doesn’t mean we should give up completely, tomorrow is a new day and we have an opportunity to start again.
This is the mindfulness that I have mentioned before: Being present in the moment and working to be here and now, staying fierce in our drive to move forward but working to be our best in the time and space we occupy.
We must also recognize that we are part of a collective humanity and that we all stumble and stand together. That is what I love so much about the Kali community: we stand together, we fail together, we cheer each other on, we give each other confidence to try new and hard things, and we cry together when things are really hard. There is no judgment in this space.
I want each of us to look towards ourselves in the same way. Take some time today or this week to work on your own self compassion and see where this might be harder for you. Is it in how you see your body? Your work? Your relationships? Is it how you judge yourself in groups or in workouts? Practicing self compassion alleviates stress, creates safe spaces, motivates self care, relieves pain and suffering, can defend against depression/anxiety and can build resilience in the face of struggle. If you are struggling, reach out: to friends, to family, to a therapist, to this amazing community of women. Find small areas of grace for yourself.
I’m going to leave you with these affirmations for self more self compassion from Jay Shetty (as seen on Dr Neff’s instagram):
I let myself feel my feelings
I forgive my past mistakes
I know I am forever growing
I create a home within my own self
I give myself what I need to feel loved
I accept who I am in every way.
Try to hold those close,my dear ones, today and all days.