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28 | Self-Compassion: Why You Want this Discipline

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“I realized I had been engaging in a lot of self-criticisms because I saw it as part of being virtuous. I thought being a big self-critic helped me serve others better and not be selfish. After practicing self-compassion, I began to realize that my self-criticism was actually keeping my focus on myself. It was a self-oriented and self-absorbed habit. Self-compassion helps me move my focus away from me, to be more available and more engaged with others.” 

That’s some feedback from a lady who leaned into the discipline of self-compassion. 

We have the mistaken idea that speaking harshly to ourselves is helpful. 

If that’s the only tool in your tool kit for self-motivation, you are going to be pretty darn tired by the time you hit midlife. 

Good leaders know how to inspire those they lead. They raise the eyes and hearts of others to something bigger. Create a shared vision while working through the muddy details. 

Let’s be good self-leaders that use inspiration. Let’s avoid talking to ourselves using fear, shame, and self-criticism to motivate us. So often, we treat ourselves in a way that we would never even consider treating somebody else. 

Jacques Phillippe says that interior peace lets us reflect God like a placid lake reflecting a mirror image of the sun and trees.  

We can’t have interior peace when we oppose ourselves. 

Most of us have learned to beat ourselves up in order to force ourselves to get things done. Or to rely on fear to motivate ourselves. We oppose ourselves by being both the taskmaster and slave. Or by being the accuser and the accused. 

At the same time, we can’t make progress if we are complacent or make excuses.

“If we accept ourselves as we are, we also accept God’s love for us. But if we reject ourselves, if we despise ourselves, we shut ourselves off from the love God has for us, we deny that love.”

Way Trust and Love p 48-49

Self-compassion lets us see ourselves as we are, with our faults, without fear, loathing, discouragement, or excuses.

The truth is: God looks on us with a lot of compassion. We can’t receive that if we’re stuck with defensiveness or beating ourselves up. We need interior peace and quiet.

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