Self compassion is your secret weapon

Embarking on counselling or personal development work of any kind is not easy. No one can tell you how long or short your journey may take but although ultimately rewarding, it can include facing deep emotions, fears, traumas and ingrained habits and patterns.

This can be tough physically, emotionally and spiritually.

There may be moments that are uncomfortable, painful or confusing as you work your way through with your practitioner. Being radically honest about how you are feeling and exploring areas that you may not have looked at for some significant time can bring many breakthrough moments and understanding.

Just as the saying goes - once you see something, you cannot unsee it. It's out there.

And it's not always easy or nice.

When such times happen your secret weapon is self compassion, without this you may find things a lot tougher.

Learning to give yourself grace and forgiveness for any past situations or decisions which you may have made or experienced is really important.

Why? well, it's worth noting that when we approach things with a loving kindness it is easier to be open and fully honest with ourselves, which is needed for progress in both counselling and personal development work.

Although it is valid to understand and recognise things in order to move on and make different choices, grow and expand towards a life that is happier and more aligned with your core values and desires, being hard on yourself will not allow you to transition through towards this phase easily.

Treating yourself and speaking to yourself in a loving, kind way will support you through what you are navigating and help you eventually reach a place of inner acceptance for what has gone before.

Self compassion and kindness will actually help in building your resilience and also increase your ability to process difficult emotions and situations.

Using self compassion will support you to accept those parts of you that you may not like, those parts that we all have. The ones we turn away from. The parts we may discover about ourselves through counselling or personal development work.

In the process of growth which by the way is not linear, it's messy and confusing, self compassion will help you to look at these parts of you with kindness rather than criticism or shaming.

Some ways to create self compassion are -

(1) Treat yourself as you would a friend.

Quite often we are our own worst critic, and harder on ourselves than we would be with others. Soften the judgements and negative blows. Try replacing these with words of support and encouragement where you can.

(2) Remind yourself that you're human.

No one is perfect or infallible. We all make mistakes and at times we will all find things too much or need help. Allow yourself to be human in the process, in the mess around you. Reach for help and know that others are there to support and help guide you through. No one expects you to do it all on your own.

(3) Tune in to listen.

Quiet the noise to tune in and hear what your inner voice is telling you. We all have that critic who sits within, quick to judge and belittle us. Slow things down to notice what the content is and address this with alternatives, reframe the thoughts with loving kindness towards yourself.

(4) Help yourself

Self care can be carried out daily in the smallest but most meaningful of ways. You do not need to spend thousands of pounds or have lavish trips away. Knowing you are worthy of time for yourself, taking care of your mind body and soul in ways that work for you will have such an impact on your overall wellbeing. List down and action one thing you can do as self care for yourself every day and make sure you carry this out.

Self compassion is a vital component for any self development journey so don't neglect yourself and forget to cultivate yours. You are the one responsible for this, no one else and you can do it. It will help you to face more than you can imagine.