Today’s Thoughts: Succeed with Self-Compassion

Painting of a stick figure holding onto a heart.We talk a lot about learning from failure, but this seldom diminishes the pain of failure when we experience it first-hand. In time, we learn from mistakes. In time, we understand failure is the most valuable graduate school. But at the moment? Well, we feel like a failure.

Getting from “I failed” to “I am ready to try again” requires a bridge. That bridge is built from self-compassion.

Self-compassion is “extending compassion to one’s self in instances of perceived inadequacy, failure, or general suffering.” The practice of self-compassion has three main components:

1. Self-kindness: Being warm to and considerate of one’s feelings rather than critical or self-shaming.

2. Common humanity: Recognizing and honoring failure as part of the human experience.

3. Mindfulness: Taking a balanced approach, defined as “a non-judgmental, receptive mind state in which individuals observe their thoughts and feelings as they are, without trying to suppress or deny them.”

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If you’re going to learn from failure and give yourself permission to persist, you could use a healthy dose of self-compassion. So: How self-compassionate are you?

The New York Times offers this interactive, 12-question quiz to help you understand your levels of self-compassion:

Take the quiz. Depending on your levels of self-compassion, the result will offer some advice for improving your capacity to rebound from failure or feelings of inadequacy.

The pressure on real estate agents to put on a sunny face and exude optimism can make self-compassion difficult to practice. Give yourself the space to grow.

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