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Self compassion comes in many different forms. And while it’s a term we hear so often, it is not something learned overnight. It’s a practice, and one that can be super powerful - not only in your own world, but also in your coaching practice.
What Does Self Compassion Look Like?
Let’s take inspiration from the work of Dr. Kristin Neff.
Neff said when you experience moments of suffering, that is the time that you need to start looking outward and relating to others because you and your moment of suffering are not unique. Everybody experiences these kinds of downs and it’s actually a way to connect to others and to society.
Also, do the best you can to love yourself without judgment. It’s easier to love other people but with ourselves, it can be hard. But when you keep at it and when you make it a practice, a habit, it can impact you positively.
It’s also wise to note that self compassion can help you better relate to others. It can protect you from harmful events of negativity and ego threats.
In a compassionate context, once you get the hang of self compassion, you start looking out into the world and say, “you know what, everybody suffers” and you begin to internalize that every single human is imperfect and every single human feels inadequate sometimes.
Keep in mind that when we’re going through hard times, it’s really easy to beat ourselves up and feel like everybody has it together except for you. Self compassion helps you drop down and form this buffer of resiliency when things start going wrong and you won’t start beating yourself up.
3 Components of Self Compassion
1) Treating one’s self kindly.
What does it mean to treat yourself kindly? To be easier on yourself. To allow yourself some slack. But also, it means self-discipline and the ability to draw boundaries and say no to yourself sometimes.
Another great way to practice kindness to yourself is to negotiate with yourself to accommodate for bad days. Knowing when to ebb and when to flow.
This first point actually gives you a better foundation to be of service to someone else because you’re not beating yourself up. You’re able to see the world through an optimistic lens. You’re doing your part of self-care by taking care of yourself so that you can hold the light up for somebody else.
2) Recognizing struggles as part of the human experience.
You’re not going through it alone. It’s part of being human. We’re all so disconnected right now so thinking about this from a human lens and from a coaching lens that if we can somehow mentally, emotionally, and intellectually harness the fact that we are all, right now, part of shared human experience, it can greatly help making you feel more connected.
3) Holding one’s painful thoughts and feelings in mindful awareness.
This idea of holding space as a coach is self compassion. Painful thoughts and feelings suck. But there can be exquisite beauty in pain. And realizing this can be a game-changer, not only for you but also for your clients and in general, for your coaching business.
Outcomes of Self Compassion
- It shapes how one responds to negative thoughts and experiences.
- It reminds you that it’s entirely possible to decide to act kindly towards one’s self even in the pressure of unfavorable thoughts.
- Research shows that people high in self compassion may be less likely to become entangled with negative self concepts.
If you’re practicing self-compassion and you find that it’s one of your superpowers, know that it's also a coaching tool. If you are great at being compassionate towards yourself, you can also help others become compassionate toward themselves.
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