Which Feels Better?

Self Criticism or Self Compassion?

Only you know which feels better for you.

But if you notice you are erring on the criticism side, this handy little infographic (a visual short cut to reading pages of text) serves as a visual reminder of the benefits of self compassion in comparison to self criticism.

This infographic, by Dr. Emma Seppala, Ph.D., is a great reminder of not only the benefits of self compassion, but also the terrible damage we do to our self esteem when we choose criticism over compassion.

I invite you to print it and put it on your refrigerator for those moments when you’re feeling self critical and can’t find your way back to self compassion.

Notice:

  • self criticism vs self compassion (how to shift)
  • 3 elements of self compassion
    • self kindness
    • common humanity
    • mindfulness

The Scientific Benefits of Self-Compassion INFOGRAPHIC - An Infographic from Emma Seppälä, Ph.D.

Embedded from Emma Seppälä, Ph.D.

 

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5 Surprisingly Simple Tips to Boost Your Self Esteem

I have a secret.

Orange Girl with Finger on LipsSometimes, I do not feel good about myself.  Not all the time.  And I don’t necessarily have a good reason to feel bad.  There’s no major crime I’ve committed or rule I’ve broken.

Worse, I even catch myself feeling bad about not feeling good.

Possibly, I’m a little depressed.  Maybe I snatched from the hands of a young mother, the last cart at the grocery store.  Or fibbed about my availability for the football fundraiser drive.

Maybe I haven’t “done” anything.  But I still feel as though I had.

Know what I mean?

I catch myself–get this–sending strong waves of disapproval to myself because I’m not being as self compassionate as I think I should be.

So, five good ways to feel like a good person from the weekly newsletter,  Just One Thing by Dr. Rick Hanson, Ph.D., a neuropsychologist and author of “Buddha’s Brain,” “Hardwiring Happiness,” and “Just One Thing:”

“Take in the good of feeling cared about – When you have a chance to feel seen, listened to, appreciated, liked, valued, or loved: take a dozen seconds or more to savor this experience, letting it fill your mind and body, sinking into it as it sinks into you.”

I sometimes need help recognizing my own qualities.  This practice was tough, initially.  I’m not giving myself the approval that I need, so it was hard taking it in.  But somehow relishing the sensation of feeling cared about seemed to lessen my compulsion for outside approval.

Recognize goodness in your acts of thought, word, and deed – These include positive intentions, putting the brakes on anger, restraining addictive impulses, extending compassion and helpfulness to others, grit and determination, lovingness, courage, generosity, patience, and a willingness to see and even name the truth whatever it is. You are recognizing facts; create sanctuary in your mind for this recognition, holding at bay other voices, other forces, that would invade and plunder this sanctuary for their own agenda (such as the internalization of people you’ve known

Take my friend Sally.  She’s active in the community.  She  volunteers with various local organizations.  She seems to always have kind words.  And, her children are affable and engaging.

Hey!  That doesn’t sound all that different from me!

Sense the goodness at the core of your being – This is a fundamental honesty and benevolence. It’s there inside everyone, no matter how obscured. It can feel intimate, impersonal, perhaps sacred. A force, a current, a wellspring in your heart.

There’s a deep underground rumble when I contemplate my own goodness and I can’t tell if it’s cultural or universal.  Sometimes I don’t feel good about me and sometimes I feel WAY good about me.  Now, when I see the opportunity, I’m shooting for WAY good.

See the goodness in others – Recognizing their goodness will help you feel your own. Observe everyday small acts of fairness, kindness, and honorable effort in others. Sense the deeper layers behind the eyes, the inner longings to be decent and loving, to contribute, to help rather than harm.

So easy to see the goodness in you.  It’s astonishing that I find it easier to find the good in a murderer on Death Row than for myself.  That’s so harsh, I spent considerable time deciding whether to delete it.  Brene Brown says you can’t love anyone more than you love yourself.  So, if you long to love others more, start with loving you.  The good news?  Loving you gives me practice for loving me.

Give over to goodness – Increasingly let “the better angels of your nature” be the animating force of your life. In tricky situations or relationships, ask yourself, “Being a good person, what’s appropriate here?” As you act from this goodness, let the knowing that you are a good person sink in ever more deeply.

For me, consciously acknowledging that I’m a good person in a tricky situation is the key.  I almost never intend to do harm, so recognizing my good intentions is also important.

smiling woman holding hugging herselfI rejoice to report that when I can catch me being down on myself for not feeling good (still with me?) I try to practice these simple but surprisingly effective tips.

And the secret?  That so many of us feel this way.

Have any favorite methods that have helped you?  Share in the comments!

Just One Thing by Dr. Rick Hanson, Ph.D.

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3 Tips for Letting Go of What Other People Think

This is a true story.

We’ll never know what the other person’s thinking.

My friend, Sue, is just about completely blind, yet is HIGHLY functional and lives a very full life within her family and her community.

One week, Diane joined Sue’s parenting group.  Sue began to hear something in Diane’s voice that sounded increasingly cold and eventually hostile and defensive.

This continued for several weeks and Sue worried about it.  Why was Diane responding so poorly?  What could Sue do to reach her?  This sort of thing just didn’t happen to Sue very often and began to bother her more and more.

Sue’s formerly nurtured and nurturing experience in the parenting group degraded to a place where Sue couldn’t think about anything else.  She talked with empathy buddies and mentors about it; worked the situation through the process of Nonviolent Communication; and used all of her other Jedi Mind Tricks to try to understand this woman’s hostility and to make peace with it.

Sue had finally begun to be OK about the whole thing when Diane approached her after a group meeting and blurted out, “Why won’t you smile back at me?  You’ve ignored me from the first time I came here.  Have I done something to offend you?”

Diane didn’t know that Sue was blind. So when Sue failed to return her smiles, while looking directly at Diane, Diane made some assumptions about Sue.

If you’ve spent time worried about what you THINK someone else is thinking about you (like I have), maybe these tips will help bring some ease back to your life.

Stop Trying to Control Others

I was shocked to realize that wanting you to like me was bordering on manipulative.   Now, I try to start encounters by saying silently to myself, “I wish for this person to be happy.”  And that usually reminds me who isn’t in charge, namely, me.

Know That Their Opinion Can’t Really Hurt You

Your brain is wired to build alliances to stay alive.  We don’t actually need a tribe that will protect us from the wildebeest anymore.  And trying to figure out what someone else is thinking is a useless exercise at best, and a heart stopper at worst.

Practice Acceptance

The greatest source of discomfort for me is believing that a situation or person SHOULD be other than what it is.  When do we accept and when do we try to change?   When I catch myself thinking a person should be different than they are, I use “May you be filled with loving kindness.  May you be at peace and at ease.  May you be well.  May you be free of suffering.  May you be happy.”

It’s a journey

On occasion, I’m still tormented by what I think others think of me.  And I do still catch myself caring deeply about what’s going on for you, instead of what’s going on for me.  But, really?  I’m so much more interested in what I think and feel, these days.  I’m finding myself to be a rich source of contemplation, and with plenty of material to work on.

How about you?  Are you bothered by what you think other people think?  Do you have a technique that’s working for you?  Let me know in the comments section below.

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Is He Explaining Consciousness?

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Compassion for Self

Hi there! I’m LeAnne McDaniel.  I live in Atlanta, GA, with my husband and beloved yellow lab, Forte.  leanne

My aim with this blog is to share my experiences, practical ideas, and late-breaking research to help you treat yourself as you would a friend, a particularly dear friend.

I invite you to treat yourself with kindness and more understanding.  To remember that failure is a normal part of the human experience and makes us stronger in the long run.

I also want to share some techniques to help you actively soothe yourself in the face of adversity.

Why?  Because self compassion is the secret to resilience, coping in the face of failure, and learning from mistakes.  Which means you begin to form authentic connections with people.

Self-compassion has similar health benefits as self esteem but with less depression, more optimism, greater happiness, and more life satisfaction.

Also because people who practice self compassion are kinder, more giving, and supportive to their relationship partners.

Wouldn’t it be lovely?

 

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Charter for Compassion

Here’s something a couple friends brought to my attention.

Charter for Compassion

Isn’t this awesome, in the truest sense of the word?  I had the good fortune to attend the kick off for the Compassionate metro Atlanta campaign.  Beautiful venue, at the jimmy carter center off Freedom Parkway.

Check-in was right at the inner glass doors of the vestibule.  We were early and there was already a sense of excitement in the air.  I stood in line maybe 10 minutes.  I was one of the lucky ones whose registration card was identified and assigned to me.  I did my little trick of putting this name badge in a knot so that when i sit at tables, people can still see my name.

We got a sheaf of papers at the door and were encouraged to find a table at which you didn’t know anyone.  Perversely, I pursuaded my friends to sit with me, although a guy I didn’t know came to sit at our table and did contribute to the discussion.

Because that’s what we were there for–to start a conversation.

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Basics

What I’m trying to do. Sort of:

 

And a Tool I’m using:

More to follow.

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Stop Resolving and Start Achieving with 1 Simple Tweak

Here we are on the other side of the New Year.  The discombobulation of the holidays can settle down.  And we can get back to work, right?  Well. Not just yet.

There’s this little thing about resolutions.

I envy people who have goals and work to achieve them.  But resolutions are counter-productive for me.

Although I do have an “intentions” list that I made in 2012. It has been a right handy stick with which to continue to smack myself through 2013.

In fact, now I have two resolution lists over which to obsess and I’m feeling more and more a failure!

Well, I’m done beating myself up with a two-year-old resolution list!

But, I still want to get things done and to make progress toward what is important to me.

And this might be how.

Systems versus Goals

James Clear, an entrepreneur and self-improvement expert, posits in a recent post that the system may be much more important than the goal.  While goals are fine and even give you a high water mark toward which to achieve, it’s the system you use to achieve your goal that propels you toward success.

Clear urges that we, “keep things simple and reduce stress by focusing on the daily process and sticking to your schedule, rather than worrying about the big, life-changing goals.”

I like that.  It feels do-able.

I feel vaguely uneasy about setting goals because I worry that I’m judging myself as not good enough the way I am.  And, if I don’t achieve them, I feel like a failure.  Kind of a lose/lose.

But I think I can tweak a system.

What’s the difference between goals and systems?  The goal is the result and the system is the strategy to get there.  An example Clear uses is the coach, whose goal is to win the championship.  His strategy, or system, is what the team does each day in practice.

“If you completely ignored your goals and focused only on your system, would you still get results?” asks Clear.

I’m going to explore that by implementing procedures (or strategies) that will support my goals.

Here are a few:

  • write 750 words daily.
  • publish an article per week (which means I can work toward it a little bit each day)
  • swim 3-4 times a week
  • Choose foods that are as close to being whole as possible, at every meal.
  • Participate in some kind of learning about compassionate communication, at least once a week.

I’m excited about this paradigm shift in self improvement.  And, with a system in place, I feel safe and supported–whether I make that day’s practice or not.  So, it’ll be a lot easier to get back in the groove when I meander away from the system.

Now, let’s get back to work.

Do you have any systems you’d like to share?

.

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3 Reasons to Connect

conversation 2

I’m fascinated by the concept of authenticity.  And startled by how connecting leads to authenticity.  Making a connection with another human being is perhaps the simplest–and least used–path to authenticity there is.

Here are 3 reasons I seek out connection:

  1. To ease my loneliness

There is something in me which yearns for company, for presence.  That’s what I want when I refer to connection.  I want to be fully present to someone else so that they experience that gift.

And, of course, I crave that for myself.

The good news is, if we are one, then when I connect with you, I’m connecting with myself.

 After all, It takes some effort to connect.  

Is it this effort that builds the fine threads of connection?  I think it is.  Along with recognizing the universality of our stories.  I hear my own personal stories, everywhere stories are told.  When I take the time to be present to someone, it helps me learn to be present with myself..

  1. 2.  To comfort someone in pain.

It is not easy to identify when someone is in pain, especially since we are trained to hide our pain from childhood.  However, we can usually tell when someone is feeling something intensely.  Part of my NVC practice is to ask if they’re feeling what I think they’re feeling.

It doesn’t matter whether you guess ‘correctly’ or not.

Just making the effort to guess is enough to connect.  And to ease the pain.  When I experience being heard, it’s a release of the muscles, desire to breathe deeply, and, just plain gratitude someone cares enough to try.

We need tools for helping people in pain.  They’re everywhere and some of them don’t know they’re in pain because they haven’t been pain free for so long, they think pain is the default feeling.

3.  To promote peace.

And not just in the world.  If I cannot solve conflicts with people I love, then how can faceless countries resolve conflicts with with each other ancient enemies?

If I can contribute to a more peaceful planet, I’m willing to do just about anything.  And I think that global peace only follows if we’re more peaceful on a personal level.

Listen up, though.  I ‘m not calling for a world without conflict.  I imagine a world that experiences conflict as a vehicle for connecting, creating, and understanding.

I also imagine my personal conflicts as connection opportunities.  After all, needs are universal.  And it’s so much easier to negotiate with someone whose needs you recognize and relate to.

What’s it feel like?

 For me, it’s a feeling of mattering in the world. Of being of significance to another soul.  And when I can be present to, and connect with, my own needs, well, that’s simply intoxicating.  And I want it.  A lot.

What does connection feel like to you?

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Fear of Flying, Part 1

Help!  I’ve fallen and I’m afraid I can get up.

Since I am paralyzed around writing about my experiences with NVC, I’ll talk about my Fear of Flying.  Might as well be Fear of Blogging, Fear of Expressing, Fear of Loneliness. Fear of (whatever your heart dreams of doing, right now).

Because, it’s not Fear of Falling, is it? 

So, I think I’m refusing to write afraid to fly until I’ve got a pretty good guarantee someone’s listening I won’t fall, thus locking myself into a place bereft of creativity.  Because without the willingness to fail–privately or publicly--there is nowhere safe to create.  

Creations can be messy

And take several iterations to be born.  Remember Windows XP through Windows 7?  Or Frankenstein’s monster?  The Model M Ford?

I can stand in the street and say this all day, but it has to be ok that I’m not doing it perfectly.  And not ok with other people.  

lion courage

It has to be ok with me. 

Besides, there is no state of being called “Perfect” despite references on TV and popular culture.  If there is, I haven’t found it and it’s not for lack of trying.  But do let me know, if you have.

Place the oxygen mask over your face, first.

It’s easier to think that I’m graciously doing this for YOUR edification.  But, it’s still all about me.

My juice cup is just barely full enough for me to realize you have feelings and needs, too.

The level of juice changes pretty fast, so I’m thinking I will spend a lot of concentrated effort on getting my own needs identified and met, so that I can begin to hear the feelings and needs behind your words.

So I’ll take an example of things I think are blocking me and try to view it through the lens of NVC.  Good for me.  Good for you?

What is Fear of Flying for you?  What does your heart sing about, when it thinks no one is listening?

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