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Self-compassion makes all the difference.

If I could suggest you make one change today, it's to try on self-compassion. Most of my clients laugh or wince when I suggest this; I guess it feels cheesy or fake. I strongly encourage you to try it out anyway and see how it shifts everything. No one will know you're doing it but you!


I was moving through my kitchen this morning, in the usual grind... feeding the dog, making breakfast for my family, packing lunches, etc. I do have immense gratitude for the kitchen I was standing in and the family I was preparing food for, but I'm often not in a state of gratitude; I feel like I'm on the proverbial hamster wheel. But this morning, I found myself picturing a little cheerleader inside of me that could see all my hard work.


"Dara, look at the love and energy you put into taking care of your family," she said (she is the little mini cheerleader in my head, if you lost track). "Your kids feel well taken care of. You're juggling work, friends, marriage, exercise, the kids' activities -- it's A LOT. You're doing an incredible job."


Ten minutes later, I was getting myself ready in the bedroom and I noticed a palpable shift in my energy and mood. My body was light, there was an openness, an eagerness to face the day. I felt... happy. "How did this happen?" I asked myself. The previous few days had felt heavy and off, and this was a noticeable change. Then I made the connection.


That pep talk I gave myself in the kitchen had been powerful. I mean, really powerful.


My clients are always rejecting my suggestion that they give themselves grace, understanding, and warmth. "I'll lose my edge," they say. "I won't be able to get anything done. It's like letting myself off the hook." Research has demonstrated quite the opposite. When you encourage yourself and use self-compassionate statements internally, you are more likely to meet your goals. The harsh way in which most people speak to themselves acts as a hindrance to productivity and success.


How does this play into my belief that thoughts are unnecessary and unhelpful? I typically don't suggest replacing harsh thoughts with positive ones; it simply doesn't work. I get that this self-compassion tactic seems paradoxical.


What I've arrived at is this: I think the truth of who we are is love. Our true nature is good, complete, with nothing lacking. Self-compassion allows us to tap into this truth. It feels right and it feels like coming home.


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