The Self-Compassion Antidote: WAM!

AdminDr Michael Mantell


Living Well Though COVID19

Self-compassion has never been more important to humankind. And self-compassion is ALL in your head — like every other human trait and emotion. Alas, “The link is what you think.”

People who are self-compassionate tend to be more unconditionally self-accepting regardless of their circumstances, while those who feed largely on self-esteem crumble when they face circumstances that are challenging. Self-compassion is not a matter of being selfish. It’s a matter of thriving through any situation, particularly the existential threat many feel from COVID19.

While frequent messaging includes “be compassionate and helpful to others,” people who include themselves in their compassion feel more in control, are filled with more self-love and self-worth and brim with self-confidence.

This leads me to my WAMWhat About Me method for achieving self-compassionate self-talk and the mindset of putting yourself, your health, your safety, your emotional wellbeing, first.

Ever fly with children and hear the flight attendant remind you, in case there is a reduction in cabin pressure, to put the mask on yourself before putting it on your children? Take care of yourself first SO THAT you can be of genuine value to others.

W Welcome yourself as a friend
“You, yourself, as much as anyone in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” ~The Buddha
This means you need to begin forgiving yourself for your mistakes, errors, slips and normal human frailties. Put only 5 feet of distance between you and another instead of 6 feet? Remind yourself that you are a good person, that you are worthy and that you are lovable. You made an error of one foot. Everyone has events they cannot change. Accept that it’s part of being human. You are a vibrating magnet…be sure you attract positivity towards yourself.

A Acknowledge your strengths and successes
Write your stories of success without comparing yourself to others. Doing so often leads to the “compare and despair” syndrome. You can look unhappily at all of the troubling things in your life or you can be thankful for the troubling things you don’t have. Make the wise choice. And don’t end a day of your life without insuring that you’ve filled your gratitude bucket. Make a list of a few things you’d like to bring into your life right now and establish your desired path.

M Mindfulness promotes it all
Be aware of what’s happening around you in the absolute present moment. It’s been said that people who live in the past suffer with depression, while people who live in the future struggle with anxiety. Only those who live with an awareness of the moment find true happiness and self-compassion. You can clear your mind and free yourself up, filling yourself up with compassion for you and others, by simply paying attention to your breathing rhythm, giving yourself time to savor your food (try the raisin experiment and spend a full minute exploring everything you can about a raisin twirlingin your mouth), and fully embrace an emotion without judging it. You can only build your self-compassion when you are aware of what’s going on inside of you. Then you can make a more informed choice about how you react to events, people and circumstances.

See? It’s ALL in your head. Complicate all you want with neuroscience, left and right brain training, mindfulness, but in the end, it’s as my grandmother so often taught, “Michael, it’s ALL in your head so stop talking that foolishness into yourself.” What a therapist she wasn’t, thank goodness. Or was she?