I am a really nice person. I don’t (often) hold a grudge, I’m good at forgiving friends, likely to let things slide and don’t automatically jump to attack mode when I feel they’ve treated me wrong. It’s good, it means I get along with a lot of people and don’t live a life full of turmoil and ire because “they done me bad”.
But like many people I often find it much harder to be as kind and understanding with myself. I’ll jump to the worst conclusion when I make a mistake, let my mind play over and over again the time I was nasty, said a bitchy remark or did (or did not do) something that another person was relying on me for, even if the circumstances that created the failure were beyond my control.
Kristin Neff is a self-compassion evangelist. She knows that cutting yourself some slack, accepting your own failing is a necessary part of being human. Her Ted talk explains very simply why we need self-compassion to balance self-esteem and accept ourselves as good enough.
I love when Brené Brown, in the book Gifts of Imperfection, describes herself as an aspiring Good Enoughist. Me too. It took me years to release the idea that perfect (the opposite quality to self-compassion in Brené’s book) was not a good thing. I spent most of my teenage years with low self-esteem… I was a tubby child, quiet, bookish, liable to get gobby and argue when I saw injustice against me or other people, and I never stopped to think whether the person I was arguing against had more power than me… and I was so, so imperfect at a time when the rest of my class was thin, beautiful, graceful, sporty, clever, musical, better at being human than I was. If you’d have offered me the chance to escape, I would have taken whatever form it was offered in. For me, escape was through books. I lived during the fall of Atlanta, the battles against the Empire on Hoth and Endor and spent a lot of time on the Yorkshire moors in the 19th Century. Lovely ways to spend your time, but not much use to pull you into the present moment and get you living life.
I don’t know what the switch was that let me release my search for perfectionism. Was it a book? An experience that pulled me up? Or just a summer spent after my O levels and thinking through possible futures. I could keep on hating myself and failing, or accept myself as I was, release my quest for perfection and embrace my humanity. I know I adopted the mantra “Near enough for Jazz” early on. Cutting myself some slack, releasing the quest to be perfect, finding a good man who loved me just as I am and showed me that I was worthy of love…. I don’t think cultivating self-compassion is a one-moment only damascene conversion. It’s a process, a long process when you need to keep pulling yourself back from the judgement that jumps into your brain, take a moment to be mindful and be open-hearted.
Cultivating self-compassion helps us be compassionate to others. It’s a great gift to be able to release someone else from the bonds of perfectionism. How am I going to do that in my life? Well, it’s back to my mantras:
Near enough for Jazz
Fake it til you Make it
There’s a Crack in Everything: That’s how the light gets in
I’ve got at least one of these written out in my planner. I’ve probably got one in postcard form up above my home desk. And they’re written, in letters of rose petals, on my heart. I’m as human as the next person. Mistakes happen, and I deserve to forgive myself as much as I forgive everyone else.
How about you?
Other posts in this series:
Cultivating Authenticity: Wholehearted Living Guidepost Part 1
If you’d like to support me….
My new book, Cosy Happy Hygge is available as an ebook or a paperback on Amazon now. As you know, I do the whole kit and caboodle myself, from writing to proofreading to designing and I’m very proud of this one. It’s about using rhythm and ritual to make your life a gentler, kinder place. Writing it has been an important part of my mental health recovery.
I don’t monetise my blog. I don’t run adverts, take sponsorship for writing posts or use affiliate links. I want everything I do on this blog and in my hygge life outside to be truthful. If I promote a book it’s because I’ve read it and like it, if I point out an item it’s because it’s impressed me on its own merits and not because the publicist has talked me into it. It does mean I don’t run giveaways and I’m not chasing followers, but the drawback is that I need to find a way to support myself.
That’s why I write books. My thoughts are that if I ask you to buy a book not only does it support me, and let me keep writing as an independent writer, but you get something back for your bucks. I’ve written several books, some on hygge, some on Christmas. If you like what you read here, or in the Hygge Nook, and you’d like to support a struggling writer, would you please consider buying a book? Ebooks give you the best value, since for 2 or 3 pounds you get the whole content of the book without paying the extra for paper production, but I’d be a pretty poor writer if I didn’t appreciate the beauty of a real book in the hand. If you buy just one book, it all adds up in the end to support me, and I’d be so grateful.
If you already have my books, or just want to support me as an independent writer, you can always just send me the price of a cup of coffee as a friend, to paypal.me/HyggeJem . I tend to use a lot of my spare cash on books that I review for the website, so every penny donated goes towards building my happy hygge life.
My first three books are hygge related, 50 Ways to Hygge the British Way was my first book, and is available in Paperback and Kindle version. It’s a simple look at ways to feel more hyggely in life and at home even though we’re not Danish and don’t have it in our DNA.
How to Hygge Your Summer, in Paperback and Kindle form, has lots of good ideas for the summer months. I strongly believe that hygge is so much more than throws and warm drinks.
Happier is my fourth book. It’s about how I boost my own happiness levels. It’s full of hints, tips and ideas for you to use and adapt to suit your own situation. It is available in ebook and paperback version from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.
I have three Christmas books,
Have Yourself a Happy Hygge Christmas was released in September 2017 and is available again in paperback and ebook version. It looks at keeping the Christmas season warm and cosy, with ideas for activities and routines to keep Christmas happy.
A (Hygge) Christmas Carol is my look at Dickens’ immortal classic and the many lessons we still learn from it today. It contains the full text of the book as well as hyggely thoughts on the story.
Enjoying a Self Care Christmas is only available in ebook version. It’s about keeping Christmas simple enough and healthy enough to keep you sane in the process.
If you buy any of the books or some of the items through the links on this page, I get a couple of extra pence per copy, as an Amazon Affiliate, in Amazon vouchers which go towards buying more books to review for the blog. I’d really love it if you’d support me monetarily, but I quite understand that cash is tight for many people, and I just love having your support via reading and commenting as well.
Truthfully, I’ll probably never make a living as a writer, but I do make a little extra income that gets ploughed back into books and magazines. One obsession feeds the other…
One thought on “Cultivating Self-Compassion: Wholehearted Living Series Guidepost 2”
I’m the same: quick to forgive and accept faults of others, but even quicker to find fault in myself, and slow to forgive myself for even the slightest mistakes. I’m trying to get better at showing myself the same compassion I show others, but apparently I still need to work on it more, since I just had to stop myself writing, “I’m no good at it,” in this comment. Mind you, the fact I noticed I was doing it, and stopped myself, is great progress, so YAY me!