Being kind to yourself as the first step to helping others

Posted on September 14, 2017 in Uncategorized - 0
Woman Looking at Reflection

On RUOK Day- 14th September 2017

Dr Stan Steindl, Clinical Psychologist, Psychology Consultants

The four prompts to starting a conversation on RUOK day this year are; 1. Ask 2. Listen 3. Encourage Action 4. Check In

This process is great and represents a small but powerful act of human kindness. Perhaps as well, the preparation for these four steps, could be to first check in with yourself, asking yourself, AM I OK? As the famous psychologist Jack Kornfield once said, “Compassion, without self-compassion, is incomplete.”

Practicing self-compassion, that is treating yourself with the same level of kindness as you would others, does not come naturally for many people. However, being kind to yourself by soothing the inner self-critic and softening negative thoughts can lead to a better sense of well-being and inner strength that enables you to also practice compassion towards others in your life.

Try following these six steps to begin practicing self-compassion:

Turn your attention to yourself, and become sensitive to your own thoughts and feelings. Step out of living on autopilot and become aware of your experiences.

If you identify areas in which you may be struggling or suffering, see if you can understand that suffering and be accepting and non-judgemental of yourself.

Know that suffering is a part of life, and a part of what it is to be human and to have these tricky human brains. Rather than criticising ourselves, we can approach ourselves with empathy and understanding.

And we can feel sympathy for ourselves. Not a pitying kind of sympathy, but rather a feeling that what we are going through is really hard and we feel moved by that feeling.

With a fundamental sense of care for our own well-being, we can bring our innate caregiving motivation to looking after ourselves and working out what we can do to help.

And finally, we can ask ourselves the key question: What is it that I really need, or would help me, in this moment of suffering?

So, remember that today, during this national day of awareness, as well as having the wisdom and courage to ask others RUOK, also look within and ask yourself that very same question. As the aeroplane safety video says regarding oxygen masks before take off, “fix your own mask first, and then help others.”

If you are struggling with negative self-talk, persistent anxiety or depressed mood, talking to a mental health professional can help you move forward and start living the way you want to live, Visit our website for more information and to view our team of clinical psychologists www.psychologyconsultants.com.au  

Some other helpful website include:

https://www.ruok.org.au/how-to-ask

http://www.compassionfocusedtherapy.com/

https://www.lifeline.org.au/

 

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