Personal growth requires self-kindness

Personal growth requires self-kindness

It’s hard (if not impossible) to be happy if you don’t like yourself.

Happiness won’t come to those who engage in self-loathing; and who, then, can’t find the motivation to do what they need to do for self-care.

It’s almost stating the obvious, or it should be anyway, to note that happiness requires self-compassion and self-kindness…

via the Ladders 

Leah: What’s one thing that you’re working on right now that you’re finding interesting or surprising?

Shauna: The importance of self-kindness and self-compassion in mindfulness. In my work with thousands of people, I’ve been stunned to discover that people are talking about the same thing: this sense of self-judgment, of not being good enough. They beat themselves up in this critical way to try to get better or improve.

But I’m learning that that approach simply doesn’t work. Not only does it feel terrible, but when we feel shamed or judged — especially when it’s our own shame and self-judgment — the parts of the brain that have to do with learning, growth, and change shut down. We’re actually freezing ourselves in the very behaviors that most need to change.

Leah: There’s so much belief built into the power of self-criticism and self-flagellation. I’m curious, when you take this information to people, how do they react?

Shauna: [I’m met with] a lot of resistance, because it’s [so] counterintuitive. People think that if they’re compassionate and kind with themselves, it’s going to make them soft, or self-indulgent, or less motivated. That’s why the science is so important, because we found that self-compassion actually makes you more motivated and more resilient to setbacks, and better [able] to take care of yourself. Instead of being self-indulgent, we find that people who are compassionate with themselves actually eat healthier and exercise more because they care about themselves.

Leah: I love your use of the term “resistance” here, because this is a place where I also see a lot of resistance come up with people. They know that they’re struggling with self-compassion. They know that their self-criticism is making them miserable at work and in their personal lives. When you bring this idea of resistance into mindfulness practice, are there nuances for how you think about it?

“Self-compassion actually makes you more motivated and more resilient to setbacks.”

…keep reading (or even listen to) the full and original interview HERE