…And Why Self-Compassion is a Necessary Part of These Gifts
There are times in my life when I wish I wasn’t so aware of my experience. Something unexpected happens. Or someone says something to me that is hurtful.
I notice what is happening in my body. My heart races, my face gets flushed and I clench my fists. I wonder, ‘How could they be so rude?’ I feel upset and anxious and I want to disappear from sight.
I do not enjoy this!
Or it could be that I don’t keep my word with someone I love. I act out of integrity. I lie in bed that night and become aware of what really happened. I don’t like what I see. I feel mad at myself and I wish I was a kinder person. I want to hide. Sleep is elusive as I squirm in shame.
Life would be so much easier if I could just ‘let stuff go’ without analyzing so much.
Or would it?
I think back to past times in my life when I was not as aware of my experience. I wonder if there are people I hurt without realizing it. Maybe some of the upsets in my life could have been prevented if I had been more aware of the impact I was having on others.
I have come to believe that Self-Awareness is a gift in my life.
- With Awareness comes Choice
Once I am aware of what is happening, I can choose how to respond, rather than react in an unthinking way.
- With Awareness comes Clarity
I can be clear with others about my experience. You may be wondering what is going on for me, struggling to know how to relate to me. When I know what my experience is, I am able to tell you and we can move on from there.
- With Awareness come Care
I notice situations that may be stressful for me. Because of my awareness I take extra time to prepare. I may get some rest, or ask for some coaching before a challenging conversation. I take care of myself intentionally.
- With Awareness comes Collaboration
When I am self-aware, I find myself more committed to understanding others. This makes it easier to work together with clarity and purpose.
- With Awareness comes Connection
This gift has come into my life when I realized that self-awareness was not enough on its own. Self-compassion is an integral part of this journey.
You may be wondering, ‘What does self-compassion have to do with self-awareness?‘
Think back to the image of me ‘squirming in shame’ during a sleepless night.
I was aware of my experience. I knew there had been an impact because of my actions. It was my self- awareness that led to a painful experience for me.
This is the point where Compassion can be a healing touch.
Here’s how it looks for me.
I talk to myself kindly. I acknowledge my suffering and remind myself that I am not alone. I am human and the human experience is imperfect. I focus on the pain rather than my failure. As I have mentioned in another blog post, Kristin Neff has been a teacher of mine as I am learning about self-compassion.
I may give myself a hug. I breathe deeply and I tell myself I am worthy of love and belonging. I plan the conversation I want to have with the person I disappointed. By being vulnerable and asking forgiveness from those I have hurt, I experience connection and a sense of belonging.
Connection happens when I am courageously vulnerable
Brene Brown, in her book, The Gifts of Imperfection, says that as humans we are hard-wired for love and connection. Her research shows that connection happens when I am courageously vulnerable. She is another wise teacher for me as I dig deeper and learn about these principles.
As I show compassion to myself, I relax and peacefully fall asleep.
I am eager to continue on this adventure of deepening self-awareness.
How about you? Do you know what you are experiencing? Are you curious how self-compassion could support you?
I would love to hear from you in the comments below about your story. Or, I invite you to set up a complimentary discovery session with me to talk further.
Your life will be richer and fuller as you develop awareness of your experience accompanied by compassion.