Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Golden Rule... In Reverse

The Golden Rule says you should treat others as you wish to be treated.

Let’s reverse that for second: treat yourself the kind way you often treat others.

Want to be more self-compassionate? It’s easy. Talk to yourself the way you would talk to a friend who was having problems. Kristin Neff, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin and the author of Self-Compassion, says:

One easy way to be self-compassionate is just ask yourself, “What if I had a very close friend who was experiencing the exact same thing that I am experiencing now?” The idea is you use that same quality of warmth, support, encouragement, tenderness, understanding with yourself that you more typically show to other people.

Sound silly? Tell that to the Navy SEALs. Positive self-talk is one of the methods that showed the best results in helping them get through their incredibly difficult training.

Maybe you’re not buying it. Talking to yourself not doing it for you? Imagine someone who loves you saying the kind words instead. Research shows this delivers serious results.

Practitioners first instruct patients to generate an image of a safe place to help counter any fears that may arise. They are then instructed to create an ideal image of a caring and compassionate figure… The training resulted in significant reductions in depression, self-attacking, feelings of inferiority, and shame.

You forgive others all the time. You need to start forgiving yourself more often.

Seriously, it’s not easy but don’t give up. In fact, at first, being self-compassionate can be hard. Why?

You need to admit you screwed up. Being self-compassionate means you can’t be in denial or rationalize. And that hurts at first. Ironically, becoming self-compassionate requires self-compassion.

But it’s not a paradox. It’s like a muscle. Exercise it and it will grow.

Here’s Kristin:

The practice itself has to be approached in a self-compassionate manner. It’s a slow process. It can feel like you’re doing it wrong somehow. In fact it’s very important to know this is part of the natural healing process.

Stop beating yourself up. Admit you made a mistake. And then treat yourself kindly like you would a friend who screwed up.

As Kristin explains in her book:

Who is the only person in your life who is available 24/7 to provide you with care and kindness? You.


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