Today, I wanted to share a few of my personal thoughts as we see off the end of a very tumultuous year.
I wanted to start with a quote, written by Eric Roth, from the film Benjamin Button:
“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.
During the last 9 months, every one of us has had to find our courage to, in some cases, start all over again, or in others, build our resilience and adapt in unprecedented ways.
And as we go into 2021, it looks as though we’re going to need to keep our courage close, as we’re still on a rocky road. We’ll need to be kind to ourselves, seek help from others if we need it and have empathy and strength for those around us.
Dr Kristin Neff has spent years researching Self-Compassion and I wanted to share a few of her findings with you.
Firstly, self compassion doesn’t mean self-pity, self-indulgent or being self-centered. It does mean, however, learning to accept that we’re not perfect and that it’s OK to make mistakes, it does mean that we shouldn’t assume that everyone else has it better, is doing things better or is happier than us, and it does mean remembering that we’re not alone and that hardship and struggle are deeply embedded in the human condition.
So I’d like to share a personal story…
I’ve felt bombarded recently with ads on social media from fellow Coaches promising to show me how to make hundreds of thousands of pounds from my coaching business, Coaches who are telling me that they’ve done it, they have six figure salaries, as they smile out of the screen.
I started engaging with these ads initially out of curiosity, wondering whether there was any truth in what they were promising. And I’m from a marketing background so should have known better!
And then I found myself becoming more and more anxious, wondering why I wasn’t earning six figures, questioning my business and my career choices. The path of self-pity was suddenly on the horizon.
So I had to take a deep breath, acknowledge the anxiety and understand why those feelings were coming about.
Firstly, I’d assumed that these coaches were actually living the life they were advertising. I’d taken that at face value not actually knowing a thing about them. For all I knew, they could be struggling, and just trying to find new ways of expanding their business. I know how hard it can be to market yourself, so found myself empathising with them instead of fearing them.
Secondly, my personal goal has never been to earn six figures, my goal has been to have a fulfilling, sustainable business that is flexible enough to allow me to spend more time with my family. And that’s fine, it’s my choice to make and one that I stand by.
And finally, my journey is my own, I’m doing fine and I’m doing it my way. Yes I have ups and downs like everyone, but I’m passionate about it and I’m doing my best.
The next finding from Dr Neff is that self-compassion is one of the most powerful sources of coping and resilience available to us.
We are all facing an immense challenge and our ability to cope has never been more important. This ability is determined by how we relate to ourselves when it gets tough, how we support ourselves, praise ourselves, forgive ourselves. It’s easy to be our own worst enemy, harder to be our own best friend.
So to end on the same quote with which I started:
"We can make the best or the worst of it. I really hope you find the courage and self-compassion to make the best of it."
Happy new year and let’s all be kinder to ourselves in 2021!