I'm hearing a lot about the new trend of radical compassion and how it's overtaking empathy in effectiveness.
Compassion is where you are not only kind to others… but you're able to extend that same level of kindness and care to yourself.
Many people I know are incredibly caring and kind to the people in their lives, but when it comes to themselves, they couldn’t be meaner. Harsher, colder, exacting. Like the archetypal old-fashioned school mistress slapping the cane against her palm.
There’s an inner judge in each of us that tears us apart the minute we falter ... and doesn’t let up.
Why do we put up with talking to ourselves in this manner?
Studies show that negative words can weaken the body. If you were to tell yourself you're a pathetic loser, not just once, but 70,000 times (the approximate number of thoughts you have daily) you’re going to feel pretty wretched. Multiply that 70,000 by 365, then by a decade or more … you get the picture. Sad isn’t it?
All of us suffer from negative self-talk but for some, it's running their lives. There's an epidemic of self-loathing, self-hatred… and, of course, because it's all in our heads, it's silent and toxic.
You wouldn’t dream of speaking to another human being as you speak to yourself. But rather than beating yourself up for being mean, what if you just started to pay attention to how you talk to yourself?
A good way to do this is to remember the last time you set a goal for yourself that you didn't achieve - maybe it was to get fit. Then recall what you would have said to yourself when you didn't achieve your goal.
Write it down. This is helpful because once you recognise the tone, the type of language your inner critic uses and how it speaks to you, the easier it will be to catch next time you hear it.
Once you catch it, counter it, immediately.
Imagine there’s a small child in you… and your critic is giving her a serve... and then speak to the child yourself (in your head or out loud - it doesn’t matter). Parent yourself in the kindest way possible.
Connect to that feeling of love and empathy you have for your own child, pet or best friend when they’re suffering, and see if you can visualise giving the same level of care and attention to your own inner child.
We can all be radically kinder to ourselves.
By learning to catch your harsh inner judge and inner critic on the spot, you'll instantly feel significantly better about yourself, and that in turn lowers stress and strengthens your energy … that's radical compassion.