Nurses are typically known for being givers. We give, give and give to others at the expense of ourselves often. As humans, most of us are incredibly hard on ourselves, becoming our own worst self-critic. This brings us up short, believing that we are not good enough, smart enough, pretty or handsome enough… the list could go on and on. Our brains and the circumstances of our lives often cause us extremes in suffering, so much so that we lose faith in ourselves and our abilities. Another truth is often we treat complete strangers better than we treat ourselves. Any of this sound familiar? Enough already!.
It is time for every single one of us to become our OWN BEST FRIEND! We must understand that suffering is part of our human condition. It is a point of connection. Compassion means to “suffer with” to “suffer together” As a nurse, we understand that feeling of wanting to help others, but what about us. We too are suffering. The sooner we accept this fact the sooner we can exercise compassion toward ourselves too. How do you choose to treat your best friend when he/she is suffering? I anticipate that you are kind, supportive and nurturing. It is time that we are that way toward ourselves. We deserve it just like our best friend does.
At the moment millions of people are suffering to the nth degree, choosing to take some type of pharmaceuticals, numbing agents (alcohol/drugs), or use addictive behaviors to cope with daily life. Insecurities, anxieties, and depression are incredibly common in our society and much of our suffering is caused by the self-judgment that is produced by our very own brains. We need a brain reset. What if the answer is as simple as exercising self-compassion on a regular basis?
Self-compassion embraces self-love which is a key to our journey. Love, connection and acceptance are our birthright. To claim them we need to only look inside ourselves and get reconnected to this birthright truth. Every single one of us is worthy of self-love and self-compassion. Become your own BEST FRIEND!
The first step in the self-compassion journey is to connect with how you talk to yourself. Check in several times a day.
Here are some questions to help you get started.
- Are your thoughts kind and loving or stern and critical?
- What types of things do you typically judge and criticize yourself for? (appearance, career, relationships, parenting and so on)
- What type of language do you use with yourself when you notice some flaw or have made a mistake?
- How do you feel about yourself in this moment?
- What are the consequences of being so hard on yourself?
- How do you think you would feel if you could truly accept yourself exactly as you are? Does this possibility scare you, give you hope or both?
- Do you tend to get carried away by the drama of difficult situations? Do you make a bigger deal out of them than you need to, or do you tend to keep things in a balanced perspective?
- Do you feel cut off from others when things go wrong?
- As you check in with your brain, what messages are you noticing? Are they helpful or harmful to you?
Tips toward embracing self-compassion:
- Check in with your self-talk several times a day. Reset your brain to choose positive, loving and nurturing thoughts. This will take a conscientious effort until you retrain your brain.
- Embrace the human experience, understanding that you are suffering too. Then choose to be kind and gentle with yourself.
- Write a loving letter to yourself from a BEST FRIEND perspective. Read it often as a reminder to exercise self-compassion.
- Kick self-judgment to the curb every time you become aware of it. Watch your language and thoughts. Avoid labeling experiences as good or bad, right or wrong. The goal is to simply accept yourself with an open heart.
- Ask yourself several times a day, what would I say or do for my BEST FRIEND right now, then execute that.
Embracing self-compassion can be transformational. Become your own BEST FRIEND! What are you waiting for?
||Cella Janisch-Hartline, RN, BSN, PCC, Certified Professional Coach, Nursing Leadership Senior Manager for Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative has been involved in various healthcare industry leadership positions for the past 40 years. The majority of her career has been spent working in an acute care critical access facility for nearly 25 years. Throughout her work experience, she has learned most of her leadership skills and techniques through the school of “hard knocks”. Cella’s passion for teaching leadership tips and techniques earned her the 2018 Outstanding Educator Award through the National Rural Health Association. She is well-known for her humorous, engaging and personable facilitation style.