Welcome to Episode 08. In this episode, I’m going to talk to you about compassion, which is another key to opening the gate courage.
As a recap, I gave you 4 keys to opening the gate of courage. They are awareness, acceptance, compassion and curiosity.
What is compassion? Compassion literally means to suffer together.
In the dictionary, it’s defined as feeling another’s suffering and feeling motivated to relieve that suffering.
For most of us, we learned about compassion as something that we do for other people. This is understandable because we learned a lot about this world through others.
When we were growing up, we learned how to be in this world and how to live in this world through our caregivers. That starts with what we see and what we notice outside of ourselves.
And it is through those experiences growing up that we start to pick and choose and develop our own morals and values in life.
But one of the things that I find that sometimes gets lost in translation is that whatever we were taught, like to show others compassion, we sometimes fail to receive that and be taught that those same qualities are something that we can shine and we can do for ourselves as well.
This is where self-compassion comes in.
So now, you will find that there’s a lot of teachers who teach about self-compassion because it has become prolific for us to criticise ourselves.
You know it’s never good to criticise other people in front of them or behind them. But, for some reason, it’s okay to criticise our own selves.
So this is where I’m sharing with you that compassion is a key to opening the gate of courage because when you’re being courageous in life, you will experience a couple of different things.
You might experience failure. You might experience something that you didn’t expect. And there’ll be plenty of learnings along the way so its really important that you show compassion to yourself.
So what does that actually mean?
Dr. Kristin Neff gave three ways to cultivate self-compassion.
One is self-kindness, which means being warm and understanding to ourselves.
Second is understanding that we have a common humanity that we all experience this. Whatever negative emotion or experience we have is common to all of us.
And third is mindfulness. Being mindful of how you’re feeling and having a balanced experience of it, neither suppressing it or exaggerating. It’s very possible to feel the pain or feel the negative emotions, while at the same time being kind to yourself.
For me, what compassion really means is being my own best friend. It’s telling myself that I’m doing the best that I can with what I know and that’s enough. Or I tell myself I’m learning right now. And that’s enough.
So some people might think that compassion is such a touchy-feely or irrational feeling.
Truth is, a lot of the research now shows that when you feel compassion, your heart rate slows down, you secrete the bonding hormone called oxytocin.
And what that actually does is that regions of our brain linked to empathy caregiving and feelings of pleasure actually light up.
When that happens, it actually allows us and opens up to wanting to approach and be caring of others.
So you can see how practicing self compassion for ourselves gives so many physical, emotional, and mental benefits to us when cultivate this particular value.
So I hope that makes sense and I hope that when you find yourself being critical of yourself and what you’re doing, or being your own worst crtic, I invite you to bring in compassion instead and be your best friend.
Because if you don’t know how to do that for yourself, I’m not sure if you’ll really be able to be authentic with others when you want to show compassion to other people as well.
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