In this PsychCentral article, I share my perspective on how to think about New Year’s Resolutions in a more self-compassionate way, and how self-compassion is a form of unconditional self-esteem: “It is an understanding that you are worthy of love and acceptance as you are right now; no matter how many wrinkles you have, how much you weigh or what your body composition may be. It is inherently stable: you don’t have to earn love or hustle for worthiness. You are deserving of it right now.”
I was at Austin Zen Center recently, attending a ceremony for my teacher, who was installed as the Center’s first abbot. As part of the ceremony, my teacher made five statements to summarize his teaching. The one that stuck with me most was this: whatever you find in yourself, acknowledge it, accept it, and forgive. This statement aligns very closely with the three aspects of self-compassion: awareness, a sense of common humanity, and kindness. It also sounds like a recipe for making amends with oneself, and I wanted to share it with you.
If you’re human, you’ve probably made an unforced error. An unforced error is a sports term that refers to a missed shot or lost point (as in tennis or volleyball) that’s entirely a result of the player's own error and not because of the opponent's skill or effort. In other words, it’s the shot you “should” have made. You’ve made shots like that hundreds, maybe thousands of times, yet for some reason, you missed it this time.
When things don’t go as planned, is your go-to explanation that it’s because you did something wrong, or because there’s something wrong with you? For many people, self-compassion is a real challenge.
Do you know the Greek myth of Sisyphus? Short version: Mortal angers the gods and is condemned to eternally push a boulder up hill every day, only to have the boulder roll down hill every night. Sound familiar?