When making a major life change it is best to begin from a position of strength. Self-compassion and awareness are two essential tools.
Social Conditioning and life circumstances can influence our view of what we are and are not capable of doing. In addition, thoughts of fear, remorse, disapproval and doubt all stand in the way of launching and sustaining a journey of change. They are the adversaries of self-compassion and awareness.
Social conditioning can convince you that change is difficult, a struggle and often ends in failure, so why bother. The trick is to not listen to a noisy conditioned mind but to your own whispering heart. There is an intelligence inside that knows what is right but it’s often overcome by a boisterous mind.
The mind can be an “evil thought librarian” always going back to the shelf to dredge up a story you don’t need or want to read. Awareness helps you understand that this information is not part of the “present you” because you are not your thoughts. Awareness allows you to say “no thank you, that does not serve me; that’s not my story at this present moment”.
Eckhart Tolle, a world-renowned spiritual leader said, “Rather than being your thoughts and emotions, be the awareness behind them.”
Charles de Lint said, “It’s all a matter of paying attention, being awake in the present moment, and not expecting a huge payoff. The magic in this world seems to work in whispers and small kindnesses.”
Often, remorse about the past or shame leads to self-loathing, fear of failure or fear of losing acceptance. We learn to dislike ourselves, avoid forgiveness and forgo the chance to see all events simply as lessons of life’s experience. When we focus on negative life events and blame ourselves or play the victim, we convince ourselves we are not worthy of our desires.
Often, social conditioning can send the message that self-compassion is not a useful tool.
Dr. Kristin Neff has done research in the area of self-compassion. She said, “I found in my research that the biggest reason people aren’t more self-compassionate is that they are afraid they’ll become self-indulgent. They believe self-criticism is what keeps them in line. Most people have gotten it wrong because our culture says being hard on yourself is the way to be.”
Awareness and self-compassion are essential for change and the uncertain future it may entail. These tools can help overcome obstacles, mistakes and detours by reducing the negative self-talk often accompanying these events.
Cultivate awareness and embrace self-compassion. This will take time and effort, so consider it an investment in yourself.
Change not because you are “no good” but because you are great and you deserve a chance to demonstrate it and experience a more fulfilling life.
“When you are compassionate with yourself, you trust in your soul, which you let guide your life. Your soul knows the geography of your destiny better than you do.” ~ John O’Donohue