Ever notice when you’re seeing everything that’s not working … rather than everything that is?
Last week I was here. Then, I paused. I stepped on to my front porch to look at the trees and drink in the reminder that I’m going through numerous life transitions right now and many things can be true at once.
One time when I was leading a retreat at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in the Berkshire Mountains, a beautiful mother from Amsterdam shared with our circle of women that her three-year-old daughter calls herself “little sweetie.” The mom remarked, “I often hear her my daughter roaming around the house saying … it’s ok little sweetie, you’re tired, you need a nap … it’s ok, little sweetie, you’re hungry and need some strawberries.” Or to her mom, “Little sweetie is sad, she needs a hug.” The only way this young girl knew to treat herself was with loving kindness; she hadn’t been taught there was any reason to act otherwise. (She inspired the rest of us to refer to ourselves as “little sweetie” for the duration of the retreat!)
I wonder what our culture might be like if we taught self-compassion as a sought-after skill to be developed and honed–as equally valued as hard work and perseverance? Can you imagine hearing teachers and other influential mentors regularly remind their students and peers, “Be gentle with yourself.”
Wondering where to begin? Here are four ideas that have helped me cultivate self-compassion:
1. Find and post a picture of yourself between age three to five and see how this image shifts your perspective and ability to be easier on yourself; you’re still that same little person! (This is little Renee, above, at age four; we did this exercise at our REBIRTH Women’s Self-Care Virtual Retreat, available for download today.)
2. Take a 30,000 foot view and find perspective. We’re all juggling so much: fallout from the pandemic, health challenges, career changes, parenting woes, divorces, so many big life changes—give yourself a break. You have a lot going on and are doing the best you can. Sometimes we lose sight of how much we’re navigating.
3. Reach out for support: have a heart-to-heart with a dear friend who holds the highest and best for you. A kind conversation can really help us loosen our hold on what’s “right or wrong” and help us see things with softer, gentler eyes.
4. Practice modeling this for your family members, friends and coworkers: if you’re a parent, instilling in your children the value of being kind to themselves supports them in lowering stress levels, developing strong self-esteem and heightening resiliency. Let them hear, “I had a challenging day, I’m doing the best I can.” The same goes for coworkers.
Often when I’m being hard on myself, I will take a long, slow deep breath, place my hands over the center of my chest and invite in self-compassion. When I can remember to soften and open my heart–and be gentle with myself–it helps me see others in a whole new light. Greater compassion for others starts with greater compassion for myself.
I’D LOVE TO SUPPORT YOU! NEW/UPCOMING OPPORTUNITIES FOR SELF-RENEWAL:
- Sat., June 17th ~ Permission Granted: The Art & Science of Self-Renewal, an experiential one-day retreat in Western NC. Details coming soon.
- September 15-17th ~ Sing, Dance, Pray: Romancing the Beloved at the Retreat Center at Lake Logan (45 min. from Asheville, NC airport). Located on sacred land in the oldest mountain range in the world. Limited to 20; designed for women leaders. Email to receive a pre-invite; details coming soon; this will sell-out quickly.
- October 13-15th ~ Awakening Your Wild Soul: Women’s Self-Renewal Retreat at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, will be filled with beautiful, joyful self-renewal experiences to help you gain clarity and remember who you really are. Packages start at just $635. Registration coming soon. This is our most popular Kripalu retreat!
- Wild Souls Nature Adventures (based in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western NC): authentic movement classes, community song circles, full moon hikes, meditation workshops, women’s circles & more. New offerings listed each week; have me design a custom experience for your team/friends. Join us Sunday, April 30th for Wild Souls Authentic Movement near Asheville, NC. Learn more.
Subscribe here to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by mindfulness coach/author/speaker and self-care evangelist Renée Peterson Trudeau. Passionate about helping men and women find balance through the art/science of self-care, Renee has been facilitating high-impact, interactive workshops for Fortune 500 companies, national nonprofits/conferences and organizations/teams worldwide for 25 years. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Fast Company, Good Housekeeping, US News & World Report, AARP, Spirituality & Health and more. She and her team have certified more than 450 facilitators in 10 countries around the globe to lead self-renewal groups/retreats based on her pioneering self-care curriculum. She’s the author of two books on life balance including the award-winning The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal: How to Reclaim, Rejuvenate and Re-Balance Your Life. She and her husband live in Western North Carolina and Austin, Texas; her latest venture is Wild Souls Nature Adventures. More on Renee here.