Build Personal Resilience, Courage & Creativity by Cultivating Self-Compassion

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"Compassion"

Are you kind to yourself when you fail? Do you try to help prevent others from suffering when they fail? Research has begun to show that this ability is a key to success and happiness in life.

Identified as self-compassion,  cultivating this life skill is very different from current western parenting theories that focus on building self-esteem.  Praising everything our children do and shielding them from disappointment have been shown to increase fragility and neuroticism later in life. The opposite approach, pushing children to achieve via threats and criticism, has been associated with the development of anxiety and depression.

However, being kind to ourselves and committing to help reduce the suffering of others, helps us to survive blows, become stronger and learn.

I, personally, was one of those people who subconsciously believed that beating myself up whenever I failed would somehow make me less likely to fail.  I was VERY good at torturing myself.  So much so that I became fearful of trying anything new.  When failure is so painful you start to shut down.

When I had my children, I started to realize that modeling this behavior would be devastating for them.  So I began to work hard to  to change my relationship with failure.  I tried not to see it as a sign of personal inadequacy but more as a result of the circumstances at the time, some of which I could change, but much of which I had no control over.

"Courage"

I also worked hard not to be so attached to success.  I found that wanting anything with every fiber of my being tended to push it away. So as I began to try new things, I cultivated the patience to be bad at things and not take things so seriously.

I had always wanted to act in plays but never had the guts to attend an audition.  So I took classes and started to go to auditions but my focus was NOT on getting a part.  My focus was on getting through the audition and the ensuing “wait for the call” process afterward.

Instead of waiting by the phone for validation of my worth, I would congratulate myself on getting through my reading, and imagine all the ways that NOT getting the part might be a good thing, ei I’d have more time to spend with the family, I could go on weekend trips etc. Yes, I would think about the things that I could do better at the next audition, but I would also recognize that I wouldn’t know about those things unless I had gone to that initial audition.

As my children grew, so did I by leaving my comfort zone on a regular basis.  Eventually I took the biggest leap by enrolling in an improv class. There I discovered that people can accomplish AMAZING things when they practice reacting positively to failure on a regular basis. (In fact studies actually associate self-compassion with the ability to access higher levels of creativity.)

Improvisors welcome failure.  When they play games and someone makes a mistake they greet it with warmth, laughter and appreciation.  The embrace of failure is a HUGE part of any improv training.

As I began to perform with an improv group, I found myself transforming even more, editing myself much less, and becoming much more comfortable with expressing myself in all types of situations.

As my life circumstances have changed, I found that self compassion freed me to jump in and try all sorts of new things and learn as I went.  These included, social media marketing, blogging, speaking and facilitating interactive presentations.  A desire to help others cultivate self-compassion has also pushed me to follow a new career path of sharing these skills with non-performers.

I have no doubt that studies will continue to show great value in developing self-compassion.  After all, if you truly understand that we are all connected, you can see that it’s the core of most great spiritual traditions.  You can’t really give to others.  Whenever you give, you only give to yourself.

Giving is not difficult.  But changing how you look at the world, failure and your part in it certainly can be. I, for one, can testify that it is one of the most valuable investments in yourself that you can make.

"Compassion"

 

Jenise Fryatt
She covers events industry topics on her blog Sound n' Sight and in her role as Community Manager for Engage365, an online community for events professionals.

6 Comments

  1. M. Faizan says:

    Hey Jenise :D!!!
    So rightfully said. Self compassion is one of the things that unlocks our true inner self. Self compassion was one the things that lacks, i knew working hard was the key, but if you don’t work hard without your heart & love into it, then that doesn’t yield the fruits that we many a times hope for. Hahaha……as i said before in a blog post written on your blog, that failure is something you can even be proud of & happy about.

    Its nothing to be ashamed or to be embarrassed about. Failures in a way teach us so much more about ourselves and bring out the best in us. People have made “failure” as a term to be so ashamed of, that those who go through it, start pulling themselves down and beating themselves up.

    Truly loving yourself for who and what you are brings in the wonderful feeling of being unique and you have the Faith & confidence that all round the 24 hours you are smiling and you are your 100% self. No compromises in being yourself and loving yourself, because when you are yourself, not only you love that about yourself, but even the people around you love that about you.
    And when you’re connected to your inner true self that’s when you project the best of who you really are.

    Phews!!! What a beautiful post there my friend :D!!! I can keep on writing and writing :P. Keep it up and hoping to read a lot many more beautiful posts by you :D!!!

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  2. Catalyst303 says:

    Thank you for this great post Jenise! It is through trials that our dreams come true and through the Love that they reveal that we feel fulfilled. Beautiful sharing! :-)

  3. Jenise Fryatt says:

    Mohammed,

    Thanks so much for the comment!! I totally agree that failing is something you can even be proud and happy about. In fact, the internet startups are so pro-failure, that I heard they have a conference called FAILcon. It celebrates this ability because it’s so integral to the kind of experimentation that leads to success.

    Whenever I come across another person, like you, who gets this concept, it renews my hope for the world. :)

    Aline,

    Thanks so much for the comment. Beautifully put!!

  4. M. Faizan says:

    Hey Jenise :D!!

    You’re so very welcome :)). And Thanks to you too for your kind words :D!!! I should be really Thankful to God for the failure/s he gave me, not only for the experience that i had from it but also making me realize that failures are indeed an important part of our lives that help us learn so much :)).
    I kindly Thank you for sharing this post with us and letting us be a part of it :))

  5. M. Faizan says:

    Hey Jenise :D!!

    You’re so very welcome :)). And Thanks to you too for your kind words :D!!! I should be really Thankful to God for the failure/s he gave me, not only for the experience that i had from it but also making me realize that failures are indeed an important part of our lives that help us learn so much :)).
    I kindly Thank you for sharing this post with us and letting us be a part of it :))