by Elizabeth Earnshaw, LMFT
Are you being hard on yourself right now? Critical?
I want you to read this and take it in:
You are a human being. You will not and can not always prevent shortcomings, failures, and mistakes. If you’re struggling right now that is because it is the human condition. And in your struggling, I feel a deep sense of empathy and compassion for you. I wish I could reach through the screen and take your hand. I wish I could tell you, “it’s okay. Things will improve”. Or “oh wow, I’ve been there too. It’s really hard”, or “oh my goodness, you’re being much too hard on yourself. Seriously. It was a mistake” , “You’re important. You’re loved”.
Since I can’t, will you do me a favor?
Can you offer that to yourself?
Can you be gentle, say kind words, give yourself a hug. Remind yourself that you’re good. That you’re worthwhile. That you deserve a break.
Rather than being harsh with yourself can you show yourself love?
Speak to yourself the way you would to a stranger?
To have compassion you must notice your suffering and be emotionally moved by it, and you must offer yourself kindness and understanding.
It also means non judgement – the ability to think “wow, this suffering is of the human experience”.
Research actually shows that the more self compassionate you are the less likely you are to struggle with depression and anxiety. Other research shows that hyper criticism of self is linked to depression.
How about in this season of thanksgiving you find ways to be thankful for yourself? For the things you do well and for the ways you’ve overcome. For the many mistakes you’ve learned from. .
How can you be compassionate with yourself today?
Elizabeth Earnshaw, LMFT is a licensed marriage therapist in Philadelphia. Elizabeth supports individuals and couples improve the relationship they have with themselves and others through better communication, self soothing, and a clear understanding of what a successful marriage looks like. She believes that any committed couples who is willing to do the work can walk away from therapy with more clarity and connection in their relationship.