Kindness Challenge Week 2: Self-Compassion

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The second week of the Kindness Challenge focuses on self-compassion. Again, this is another area where I am challenged. It is so easy for to feel compassion towards others, and attempt to get them to see the better side of things.  However, I do not show myself the same consideration.

I love giving gifts to people. I get into themes, or try to find unique or interesting pieces to give to people. Last month, I purchased some nice items for a friend, and wanted to include a DIY item as a gift topper.  When it came time to wrap the gift, I realized that my personal stash of paper for this particular gift size was not enough.  All that was left were rolls that didn’t apply to the occasion, and another roll that I didn’t particular like.

I wrapped the gift anyway, and in such a hurry that I was dissatisfied with the outcome.  The paper wasn’t good enough.  The wrapping job seemed sloppy to me.  The bow didn’t look pretty enough.  It looked hideous and amateur.

The worst of it came when I tried to do the DIY item.  I just couldn’t do it. I have no idea why, but it just wasn’t working. It kept falling apart. It didn’t look like what it was supposed to. I spent hours on it, completely frustrated. I felt stupid. I felt disappointment. The frustration turned on the actual gift itself, and I was angry about how it looked in the paper that I didn’t love. It was a vicious cycle of self-deprecation – all over a gift.

Now, had this happened to someone else, I would told them that it’s what the gift inside that matters. The recipient would have appreciated anything, and the gift wrap was nice as it was.  It’s the thought that matters right? Good intentions will always win.

Somehow, I couldn’t apply that to myself. I suppose it comes from high standards, a stubborn attitude and high expectations. I don’t want people to be disappointed in me. I want quality work the first time, and I beat myself up for mistakes. If I don’t do it right the first time, then I feel disappointment and shame.

Using this week’s prompts, I can see where I really need to learn self-compassion. I am not as horrible as I think I am.  I am not failing. I am always striving to do my best, and that’s what matters. That’s what people will see. I always tell people that if they are really honest and have good intentions, then that’s what counts.  I simply can’t apply that to myself.

It’s a hard lesson to learn.  However, I am finding that in the weeks since that incident, I am getting better. I had some difficult deadlines at work this week;  the work I had to submit wasn’t perfection, but it was what the project needed. I found that in not focusing on the shortfalls, the disappointment was temporary, and I was able to move on. I didn’t fail – I achieved what I was supposed to. People were happy with the results, and I was more relieved from not being so hard on myself.  I was able to move on to the next thing. No huge emotional attachments or feelings of failure. I just set the feelings aside and moved on.  Such a drastic change from the gift incident!

Again, this is a work in progress, and that’s what the kindness challenge is all about. Self-compassion has a huge impact on happiness and well-being. I’ll definitely continue to work on it!

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image from stocksnap.io, artist Lea Dubedout

 

34 thoughts on “Kindness Challenge Week 2: Self-Compassion

  1. It’s quite a skill that you can detail your own emotional experience. How clear you are about what you would tell a friend in the same situation. It’s amazing how we humans can treat ourselves so horribly…it’s like some sad ego part just hammers away at itself. And then the fatal blow….believing it. I enjoyed your post. I bet the present was great!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As a reformed perfectionist, I know the emotions you describe in this post. When I read this I can’t help but think how thoughtful, caring, and nurturing you are. It makes me excited for you as you continue down this path. Being aware of this will help you to take steps to improve your self-compassion. I’m so glad you joined the challenge and look forward to how the last week of self-kindness will support you on this journey. Sending you lots of love, Jenn! ❤ ❤ ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I’m glad you’ve had a recent work experience that helped you see the contrast of the gift experience. I think all these small wins that we practice over and over again really help us shift our thinking and our behavior. We’re always works in progress aren’t we? But when we’re able to lean into self-compassion and self-kindness our journey becomes significantly more filled with ease and grace I think.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yes! It’s so strange that the growth came from work since I am making my working mom transition, but I’ll take what I can get. Hooray for progress!

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  4. This really hit home for me. I’m so hard on myself. I have all the kindness and patience in the world for others but none for me. I know first hand how hard I try and how hard I work, I should try to be a little more compassionate with myself.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Isn’t it interesting that the highest expectations on us, so often come from ourselves? Kids often make this visible, because they still voice the stories they fabricate for themselves. And since these stories can be so over the top and out of the box, it’s easy to ask them to reflect whether this internal story is really the truth. When we get older the stories we create for ourselves become more believable and we stop questioning their validity. Maybe we shouldn’t!
    Thanks for your post.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I feel the same way about everything I do. I absolutely am my own worst critic. Self compassion is such a hard thing to follow. This is a great post. We all need to learn to implement this; it’s not something you think about doing on a regular basis for sure. It is certainly important enough that we all need to follow.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I am a huge perfectionist and I definitely need to work on my own self talk. I don’t know why it’s so difficult to talk kindly to ourselves when it’s so easy to show compassion for others, but it needs to change. One “imperfect” gift-wrapped trinket at a time 😉

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Lovely post! You don’t have to be perfect all the time, we’re all a bit hypocritical when it comes to treating ourselves isn’t it? We’ll treat our friends with sympathy but will show ourselves none. I’m so glad you’re working on bettering this and have already been succeeding, I wish you luck!

    Liked by 3 people

  9. This is such a good idea, especially in the society that we live in today! We need more people like you out there. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 3 people

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