This time last year, I was planning my dream trip to Australia, and it seemed unreal to me to be able to have a month off work – something I've never been able to do before.
I was excited to see my friend, nervous about the long flights, curious and full of wanderlust at the adventure that lay ahead, yet worried about my clients and how my business would cope without me for such a long period. Little did I know then that I would be unable to work for another three months plus after I came home, bringing with it a whole host of other emotions.
The world has become a very different place in so many ways. I have watched the world grow into a more anxious, fear-driven place. My aim for my business has always been to offer help and advice, inside and outside of the therapy room, so people can tap into natural resources to become healthier and happier, less stressed versions of themselves.
But it's also been interesting to watch more positive aspects of the situation. As well as the fear, I've seen people bring communities together with selfless acts of compassion. We have watched in awe as our key-workers have carried on regardless in the peak of the Coronavirus. Let's hope we continue to appreciate these hero's rather than the false gods and influencers who seem to be valued for their ability to sell us things we don't need!
Surely compassion and kindness must become the 'new cool'. These are the values we should be rebuilding our new world with. A more beautiful and compassionate new world our hearts know is possible.
But how do we know when we are being compassionate enough with ourselves?
There is an ancient Hawaiian practice called Ho'oponopono that assumes everything we experience as reality comes from our own mind. Your inner self influences what you feel, hear, see, and even the things or people you know. This concept is something I have been working with for years, so when something is bothering me, I do some inner work to find out what is bothering me.
So how do I know if I'm being compassionate with myself?
For me, it's noticing how compassionate I am with others. If I catch myself judging, being critical, or snappy with others, I know this is a reflection of my own inner state. So firstly, I pay more attention to my own needs and follow the four steps of Ho'oponopono: repentance, forgiveness, love and gratitude.
If I find that I am reacting to the same things over and over (sound familiar?), blaming forces outside of myself, I get curious about the origins of these irritations. We only get irritated if it hits a nerve from something inside us, so I sit and either journal or meditate to see what's going on with me.
So next time you feel you are judging, criticising or reacting, notice the feelings in your body. Come out of the mind and the stories we create to justify our reactions and sit with the feelings, giving them plenty of compassion.
It is only through self-compassion that we can extend compassion to others. You cannot give from an empty cup. If you wish to see more compassion and kindness in the world, then learn to give yourself the gift of kindness and self-compassion first and foremost.
Tips for self-compassion
Give yourself time to rest: invest in simple self-care
Spend at least 30 minutes a day on something that makes your soul happy
Notice your reaction to people. What triggers an emotional response or sensation in the body? Get curious about what this is bringing up for you.
Nourish yourself well.
Be careful of who or what you expose yourself to.
Self-Compassion and Sleep
A great way of showing yourself some kindness and self-compassion is to permit yourself to rest.
Rest is a form of self-care which many of us struggle with. We are not taught self-care, and often it carries feelings of shame and guilt if we do something for ourselves, thinking it selfish and indulgent.
The first layer of rest is sleep, and we all need to sleep, right? So maybe sleep is a good place to start with self-compassion and kindness in our beautiful new world.
Sleep Well, Feel Well Series
You may be the lucky one who sleeps well and wakes up feeling energised. If you sleep well most nights, then you can function well the next day, however, if you struggle with your sleep, you may find you are less productive, run out of energy during the day and generally feel a bit 'Meh'.
If you want to discover natural self-care techniques to help you relax, drift off easily, and wake feeling refreshed and ready to slay your day, then my NEW Sleep Well, Feel Well series is for you.
"... We can't practise compassion with other people if we can't treat ourselves kindly" - Brene Brown