Each year, whether nearing the end of it or at the very beginning, we are encouraged to look at our past and consider what we want the new year to bring. We analyze our potential in hopes that we make the new year better than the last. In this process we need to apply self-compassion because it is important to understand that we can always start again.
Self compassion is allowing yourself to feel understanding and kindness towards yourself, despite your failures, disappointments, imperfections and shortcomings.
Being able to remind yourself that it’s okay to change and/or start over. There is no limit to how many times we can try and work towards our goals. Sometimes we tend to place pressure on ourselves to excel at every new habit, routine, or goal we try to make.
This pressure may be more of a hindrance to progress than we anticipate. Some tasks or skills will take practice and patience. Growing up my parents refused to say the common phrase “Practice makes perfect.” Instead, we would say “Practice makes better.” Rather than trying to achieve perfection we can work towards being better.
The amount of consistency and effort we contribute to something will achieve a better result. This year you may struggle to find purpose or passion, feel exhausted, and need a break. When these feelings arise, know that your potential won’t be wasted and taking care of yourself should be prioritized no matter what. Set aside time for breaks so you can listen to the needs of your body and your mind. A part of living life is deciding how we want to live it. Take your time and don’t conform to anyone’s definition of success. You can define what success means to you. Believe
that you have the capabilities to achieve what you desire and remember to be kind and understanding towards yourself.
Dr. Kristin Neff is an expert and leader in the study, understanding, and definition of self- compassion.
Dr. Neff defined self-compassion in three elements:
- Self-kindness vs Self-judgment — Understanding that we will inevitably experience failure and life difficulties but treating ourselves with gentleness is a way to accept it rather than self-criticism or ignoring our pain.
- Common humanity vs Isolation — Recognizing that suffering and inadequacy is a human experience that we all share. The common phrase “you are not alone” comes to mind here. You are not the only one that will make mistakes and our mistakes and failures can connect us just as much as our successes.
- Mindfulness vs Over identification — Be mindful of negative emotions and thoughts. Don’t ignore your pain but also don’t be consumed by it. Remember that self-compassion is not to be confused with self-pity, self-indulgence, or self-esteem. Practice compassion towards yourself.
There are many ways to practice self-compassion. Some ways are to practice positive self-talk, exploring through writing, or creating healthier habits. Find an exercise that suits you and try to maintain it in this new year.
Have a wonderful New Year!
About the Writer…
Jamaica Okech is a current Masters student studying Social Work at the University of Texas at Arlington. As a native Texan and member of the Black community she has a passion for finding ways to reduce harm in the lives of those in need. Jamaica is inspired to be in the mental health/counseling field due to the gaps she has witnessed in the treatment of historically marginalized communities.
As an aspiring clinician, Jamaica believes in the importance of therapy as a helpful tool to support individuals in their healing and self discovery journeys. In her therapeutic approach, she provides an unbiased safe space for her client to grow at their own pace. She provides support by prioritizing their wellness through trauma informed care, empowerment, and personalized treatment.
Mindfully Restored, LLC provides client-centered, trauma-informed services and products that will allow women to achieve new levels of resilience, healing, and life satisfaction. To learn more about our services, schedule a FREE consultation.
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