Be compassionate with yourself when you make mistakes. – Every choice helps reveal another aspect of yourself and your patterns of responding. If one happens to be less life affirming that you might like, there is still something of value to be gained from it. Being unkind with yourself only adds insult to injury and is a waste of valuable energy. Everything that happens is preparation for a moment that is yet to come. If you can learn to address yourself with compassion in the face of a mistake, it will make you more available for others when they inevitably also make a mistake.
A simple practice for cultivating self-compassion, as offered by Kelly McGonigal in Yoga Journal, is a basic body scan. Allow about 10 minutes or maybe even more if you have the time. It can be helpful to set a timer so you can relax and just focus on the scan rather than worrying about how long it’s taking.
As you sit or lie down in a relaxed posture, take your awareness around your body and acknowledge what each part does for you. It may take some time to connect with a sense of loving appreciation for yourself and feelings of vulnerability may arise. See if you can complete an entire circuit of your body from the top of your head down to the soles of your feet, cultivating a sense of respect and compassion for yourself
When you make mistakes, if you’ve got a grounding of this sense of compassion inside, you can more easily access it. When you do this, you can use your energy to heal and move forward, rather than to inflict judgement on yourself.
To read Kelly McGonigal’s brilliant article about Self-compassion, click here.