Kristin Neff, Ph.D., associate professor in human development at the University of Texas at Austin is the author of Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind, says that self compassion has been linked to greater well-being, including diminished anxiety and depression, better emotional coping skills and compassion for others. According to Neff, self-compassion consists of self-kindness, common humanity and mindfulness.
The past week I took a good look to see if I was indeed practicing self-compassion. I clearly had had issues with self-kindness and discovered ways for me to improve in that area. However, I see now that just changing how I respond to the issues in my life is not the only necessary thing I need to change.
I have not been very accepting of my issues or of my feelings about them. I have not given myself the consideration I have given to not only loved ones and friends, but to total strangers in my nursing practice. I have realized that I am just as worthy of being compassionate, caring and kind to myself. I have always been one who takes charge and been very strong. So, when I am troubled about my life I am impatient with myself and un-accepting of my weakness even if it is just my perception of weakness. I have come to the realization that for me to get to where I need to be, I have to change my way of thinking.
I also must realize that we all suffer and have self doubts and we are not alone to deal with them. I need to see that our common humanity calls us to be careful how we deal with ourselves so we can be compassionate with others. Being here with my friends in Florida helping them out while Frank recovers from a serious illness and surgeries has made me realize the truth of Neff’s observations.
We were asked to try to identify where the disparaging voice that plays in our head when we fall short of the mark so to speak comes from. I was surprised to realize that my little recriminations came directly from my mother. I don’t for one minute believe she was being malicious, but rather she had her own set of problems she was unable to handle. My grandmother raised me from the time I was eleven and did a pretty good job of instilling self esteem in me. However, sometimes I still hear my mother in my head.
I could not be more surprised to learn that after not seeing my mother since the age of eleven her words could still have that impact on me. Now that I understand where it comes from I can now move on.