You can’t be kind to others if you treat yourself like crap.
I believe this statement with everything in me. But, it feels so selfish and wrong to be kind to ourselves sometimes. We feel like if we are hard on ourselves then we can push ourselves. The problem is…
Bouncing Back from a tragedy rarely moves in a straight line. Even with the best strategies, practices and desires you will likely feel as if you are moving two steps forward and one step back. You may wake up and have a great day and then have a horrible day within the same week. To survive the dance you will need to cover yourself with self-compassion. Realize that recovering from a tragedy is difficult for you because it is difficult for EVERYONE. You are not struggling because you are a terrible person. You are struggling because you are in a terrible situation.
I have clients ask themselves, “Okay, who would handle your situation well? Who would be good at handling your particular pain?” There is tremendous relief when they quietly reply “No one. No one would be good at handling this because this is not something to be handled well.” This is HUGE if you really embrace it. There is such self-compassion is saying, “This can’t be handled well because it isn’t something to handle well – not because there is something wrong with me.”
Friend, there is nothing wrong with you!
Practice saying it out loud. Write it down and post it beside your mirror. Think about it before you go to sleep at night. Just remember that you are a normal person in a terrible situation – not a terrible person for being in your situation. You may have made choices that put you in this situation. But, more than likely you were making the best choice you had with the information you had at the time. Now you have more information and can make different choices in the future!
- Be kind to your past self.
- Have higher expectations for your future self.
- Ask yourself, “Who would handle my situation well?”
- Practice self-compassion when you realize that no one would handle your situation well.
- Remind yourself that you are a good person in a terrible situation, not a terrible person in a good situation.