Off the mat, perhaps for many of us, it’s easy to practice non-violence and compassion to others— be it in thoughts or physical acts— but when it comes to ourselves…that’s where the real test lies. Most often, the lack of compassion for ourselves comes through our thoughts— in a little voice that shouts “you’re not good enough”. Of course, self-criticism is good to a certain extent (in fact it motivates us to do better!) but when it goes beyond that, it just feeds our feelings of anxiety, stress, and self-loathe.
If I could earn a dollar for each time I had a negative internal dialogue with myself, I’d be so rich by now. (e.g..“I’ll never be able to get this right..”, “I shouldn’t even have tried..” “How could I make such a dumb mistake?”) I’m guilty of critiquing myself in my mind really harshly way too often, and most times it reflects physically in the way I present myself, the things I do, and the choices I make.
Incorporating the practice of Ahimsa more in my daily life has made me change the way I speak to myself — instead of simply critiquing myself for doing something badly and being all negative about it, I now make an effort to change the delivery of words to myself, into asking and assessing “what went wrong?” “How can I make it better? , “How can I improve?”. What Jess said about the difference in the delivery of words, to others and to ourselves, kinda flicked a switch in me. The way we deliver our words makes such a huge difference and it’s always a whole lot more constructive and healthy for the mind if we show compassion to ourselves the way we show it to others.
As a note to myself and to everyone, don’t negate all the things that you’ve done well just because of a little aspect which you (maybe in your head) think that you’ve done badly; celebrate the little wins! 🙂 & As hard as it may be, let’s work towards being kinder and more forgiving to ourselves because after all compassion isn’t complete if we don’t put ourselves in the picture.
Pei Xuan 200HR Weekend YTT