Thursday the 10th September is R U Ok Day, a day to remind everyone that every day is the day to ask, “Are you OK?” As we all face the ups and downs of life, I reckon it's a good day to stop and practice self-compassion in conjunction with compassion for others.

Self-compassion opens the door to acceptance and is about directing love and compassion at yourself and those around you. To be receptive and accept the gifts we face, we need to open the door and invite self-compassion in. Kristen Neff, a researcher of self-compassion, highlights its many benefits, including a decrease in anxiety, stress and depression, and an increase in life satisfaction, resilience and overall happiness.

As we know, our thoughts dictate our feelings and therefore, what we do or don’t act on.

Negative self-talk is the blocker to self-compassion and can include:

  • awfulising – assuming the worst, which can spiral into negative thinking
  • filtering – seeing only the negative aspects when you face a challenge, although positive ones exist in parallel
  • personalising – blaming yourself when faced with a challenge

The thoughts you think today will determine the results you see tomorrow.
– Robin Sharma

We need to be kind to ourselves and catch ourselves out on the negative self-talk.

5 Key Tips On Being Kind To Ourselves:

  1. Catch your critic and name it – Stop and name the thought, then refer to it by name. One of my clients attributed her negative talk to not being good enough or being too ‘needy Ned’. This made her laugh whenever she noticed these thoughts – that alone changed the direction of her future conversations.
  2. Talk to yourself like a friend – We can often be harsher on ourselves than we would ever dream of being with those we love. Be light, kind and above all, respectful.
  3. Practice gratitude – We all have so much we can be grateful for, being in nature, our health or the fact we have caring people in our lives. Gratitude can be a feeling, an action or a mindset. Journaling three positives each day and reflecting on them the next morning is a great way to start. Bringing gratitude into the workplace culture is a great way to share, show compassion, amplify strengths and appreciation in each other.
  4. Flip your beliefs – Usually, we frame whatever we tell ourselves as beliefs, which either do or do not serve us. For instance, ‘I will never get through this challenge’ could be flipped to “What is the opportunity in this situation?” Think about what limiting beliefs you could let go of, to be kinder to yourself.
  5. Reframe keywords – Reframing “I’m nervous and challenged” to “I’m excited about this opportunity” can change your energy, mindset and awareness to what can be, rather than what can’t be. Words are powerful, and we all have the choice and capability to change them.

Self-awareness doesn't prevent you from making mistakes; it allows you to grow from them instead. We need to take the time to reflect, digest our thoughts and neutralise negative self-talk in order to be kinder to ourselves.

When we have thoughts about a challenge or success that serve us, we can then ‘feel’ into them. An example: feeling empowered when we have made it through a hard time – we can lean into that feeling of accomplishment and positivity.

Think of an event that’s currently on your mind:

  • What are you telling yourself about it?
  • How can you practice self-compassion today?
  • How are you showing compassion to your team and those around you?

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Lead to be limitless…

Signed Reneé

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Renée is a mentor, coach, expert facilitator and keynote speaker; She is the author of ‘Limitless Leadership’ and co-author of ‘Leaders of Influence’.

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