We all have a tendency toward self-actualisition. That is, it is in our nature to reach our potential. However, we bump up against family norms, society norms, expectations from significant others, education system and many other imposed standards. We all learn how to love ourselves, when to love ourselves, conditions to love ourselves and we all assimilate those into our self-concept. In this “process”, we end up “being conditioned” to respond the experiences based on those standards and not on the basis of enhancing ourselves to reach our potential. Yet, we continue accumulating the wisdom that is needed for self-actualisation. As a result, the tension tarts building up between the inner force to reach our potential and external inputs, i.e.
It is however, possible to reach our potential, live the life we want to live. Simply because we are already born with the capacity to reach our potential. All we need is to have the right conditions in the present and our urge to reach our potential will start coming out to the light and we will gradually overcome the obstacles in front of our potential.
The foremost important condition is self-compassion. It is extending compassion to one's self in instances of perceived inadequacy, failure, or general suffering. Or it is called “unconditional positive regard” by Carl Rogers. Or it is called “unconditional self acceptance” by Albert Ellis.
Several studies have shown that treating oneself with compassion when faced with challenges and suffering improves resilience and well-being. In addition, studies found strong association between self-compassion and happiness, optimism and emotional intelligence.
Although we innatelyhave compassion in all of us for others as well as for ourselves, it seems that during the “process” we start being more and more compassionate our others than ourselves. There is nothing wrong to be compassionate to others and it is really important to be empathic and compassionate to others. But, there is nothing wrong to be compassionate to ourselves either.
It looks like throughout the “process”, we become more judgmental towards ourselves, more isolated and overly identified with mental or emotional suffering. No wonder, why we are not able to reach to our potential. We tend not to have an unconditional positive self-regard.
So, in order to reach to our potential and have a fulfilling life, we need to replace the conditions that causes lack of compassion for ourselves. As we have learned all those behaviours, we can unlearn them too! This starts to be in environments that treats us with unconditional regard. Hard to find, I know but coaching provides such an environment.
When you find yourself self-judgmental, try to think howyou would treat someone in your position. We are more compassionate to others, remember!
Remember that you are not the only one who is going through the experience. It is a human experience that sometimes we fail.
I know it is easier to say than practicing the love for yourself. But I am afraid that is the only way to start reaching your potential and have/do/be whatever you want to in your life. You are worth it!
For more information on self-compassion, please visit my website:www.yournextsteps.co.uk