(The journal prompt is at the end of this message.)
In the fall of 2020, I was visiting a loved one who lives with mental illness. We had plans for the day, but when I arrived to pick him up, he decided that he was no longer going to participate and wanted me to go ahead without him.
I tried to convince him that it was important that he go with me; however, the conversation was going nowhere. I could feel it, and so could he. Both of us acted with stubbornness, which kept us stuck in the rounds of disagreement.
I could tell that he was having a tough time with his mental illness that day, and, yet, I was still frustrated with his behavior. It was ONE MORE TIME that this was happening. I was used to it, and it doesn’t mean it hurts less or that I felt less frustration.
As I sat there on his couch, I had a running, self-critical dialogue in my head. Things like, “You KNOW how to communicate with him when he is like this, so why AREN’T you?” And, “You can see that he is struggling. You know that the mental illness is talking. You know that if he were healthy, this disagreement would be a non-issue.”
There were other parts of my internal dialogue that were filled with self-compassion. In my mind, I said things like, “Well done, I just took his perspective, put myself in his shoes. I felt what he might be feeling.” And, “Take a deep breath. I’m doing my very best.”
I tell you all of that so that you know that you are not alone in feeling that tight knot of self-judgment. You are not alone in bouncing between self-judgment and self-compassion.
JOURNAL PROMPT: Name 5 ways you can be kind to yourself when self-criticism arises?
Grab your journal, take 5-10 minutes to reflect on the journal prompt, and then read my final message.
With self-compassion, you can experience peace, confidence, and empowerment. I can help make your path clear! Let’s connect so you have a buddy on your journey.