BUT that's not what I intended to write this post about!
My official hobby of the month is Self-Compassion. I'm applying the research of Kristen Neff and Brene Brown. They put together an online class that I've been taking, and I've actually benefitted from it a lot. I've had a few short term therapists, and my most recent one (a couple years ago) highly recommended that I read Kristen Neff's work on self compassion, so I'm doing that now. I've enjoyed it and learned from it so far (I'm about halfway through). So far, my practice consists of kind touch and kind words. My friend Stephanie used to hug herself while exclaiming something kind, and I'm doing a similar thing. Sometimes I put a hand on my own shoulder, pretend I'm speaking to a close friend, and say what I would say to them if they were in my situation. Then I accept those words that I just spoke to myself; I accept the kindness.
It sounds really simple, and maybe more than a little odd. But it is helping me think of myself as my own friend - and that is an amazing and comforting feeling! I feel safe with myself, and it is quite a relief. I am making an effort to not belittle myself, criticize myself, or hurt myself at all.
But what about progression, you ask? (Because that was the question I asked!) How can you improve if you don't recognize your own mistakes? What about accountability?
And to that I now respond "How would you help a friend, a child, or a client improve?" Would you belittle them, criticize them, or threaten them into improving? And if you did...would it even work? Problems can be addressed, truth can be told, people can be held accountable - all without hate, anger, rudeness, or shame. We can be truthful, and also "show an increase of love afterwards, lest [we] esteem [ourselves] to be [our own] enemy."
As Thomas S. Monson has taught, "Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved." And I'm learning what that feels like to apply it to myself.