Before you proceed to read this entry, watch the talk by author Mike Robbins.
Sometimes I wonder if I'm too hard on myself. Just like what Mike asked, "do you practice self compassion?"
I believe self compassion is a delicate balance between knowing when to push yourself and letting it go. There're situations in life you press for an answer, try means and ways to achieve results, avoid certain things or can't accept failures.
What makes it challenging to be kind to yourself? Do we associate that with laziness and lack of motivation?
Maybe the challenge lies in the conflict of emotions when you start to experience what you are going through. When you are mindful of your emotions, it may be a one-way road with two-way traffic and no one is willing to give way: one is telling you that is the right way while the other says it will be smoother to travel on that side. Will you be hard on yourself and press on? Or reverse?
Many times we choose not to retreat because we deem the easier route to be the route to failure. It leads us to the reverse direction and may not bring us to where we want to be. The fear of failure fuels us to continue on the current path. Some people succeed and some don't. But if you don't, how do you react to your own failure?
Mike brought up the idea of practicing sense of common humanity on yourself. You are not the exceptional person who have failed (or succeed). You can enter a great school but you are not the only student. You may fail at an attempt but there are people out there who've walked your path. If you practice common humanity on yourself, would you be able to see life from a different perspective and be less harsh on yourself?
We all know its easier said than done. The social/peer pressure gets to us. Be it work, relationship or other issues in life, we all want to be an achiever. I do. I want to excel in what I do and have a loving partner in my life. But shit happens. Sometimes, in fact most of the time, I looked back and wonder why it happened. The spiral of emotions knocks me off time after time, and I've to stand up and continue walking. Did I fare well? I think I didn't.
It's an irony because if you were to pose this topic to me 5 years ago, I would be able to breeze through it. I can accept failure by looking it into its eyes and let go. I can recognise how it looks and not shiver. I can acknowledge failure in the path toward success and still press on. But now I will stop and think because being hard on myself is just not working anymore.
I still can't master the art of common humanity, yet. But having said that, the idea of common humanity is extremely important in the current stage of my life. Being able to be kind to yourself and having the room to breathe brings more possibilities in life. I'm still learning how to stop asking myself questions that will not bring any answers and start putting together an action plan. A plan that does not push me the wrong way but one that will show me an alternative path towards the same goal.
Whatever you are experiencing is not here to stay.