I’m finally getting somewhere on this one. I flicked back through posts I’ve written the last few months, and this is the first time self compassion appeared. Here’s what I said at the time,‘Self compassion isn’t easy. It’s work. It’s acknowledging what’s going on, then accepting it, then doing something to alleviate it, then doing something to change the situation if that’s what’s needed. It’s so much work. But it’s work I can’t afford to ignore any more.’
Do you want to hear something fun?! I’m coming to the end of my first week of properly practicing self compassion, ie, looking after myself, but also, and here’s the crucial part, acknowledging that I’m looking after myself. I’ve eaten well. I’ve stayed away from alcohol. I’ve gotten myself to bed on time. And, following my session with Therapist 2.0 on Thursday and the understanding (finally) that I’m the only who can make the changes I need, I’ve even been doing my breathing exercises as she recommended, rather than ignoring them. I haven’t exactly wanted to do any of these things, but I’m doing them anyway. Every time I find myself about to walk away from or not do something that will help, I remind myself activation precedes motivation.
It’s not all big things either. There are some really small things that are helping. This may sound strange, but when I’m not feeling inclined to look after myself, I don’t look after my skin. This week, no matter how tired I’ve been, I’ve washed my face each night, and, I’ve started using a body moisturiser as well. One of the (many) things I’ve learned from Therapist 2.0 is how important smell is, so now, I’m using one particular moisturiser at night, in the hope that soon I’ll come to associate that smell with winding down. I’ve also started switching my phone off and reading an actual book before bed, rather than looking at a screen. And candles. As soon as it gets dark enough, you know, mid afternoon ish (feckin Irish summer!!) I light candles in the sitting room to make the house feel cosier. They’re all really small things, and I’m sure most people wouldn’t think anything of them at all, but I’m consciously choosing to do them, for me, because I know they’ll make me feel good. Self soothing is a dbt skill, I’m reasonably confident a few of these would fall into that category.
Anyway, I’m quite proud of me for finally starting to get to grips with this. Of course, having said all that, there’s nothing I’d love more tonight than to crack a bottle of wine and sit in front of netflix till an unholy hour. But I won’t. I’ll do a toned down version – I’m absolutely still allowed to have treats – but I also want to be able to function, and more importantly, feel good tomorrow. And I’m the only one who can make that happen!