As we complete this last lap around the lockdown track (hopefully) to plank this third wave of Covid, I’m noticing that aside from the general weariness, there is a lot of blame and self-judgment going on with my clients.
One of the first things we can do to “spring clean our mindset is to refresh ourselves on how to take responsibility without falling into a pit of self-judgment.
Research shows that judging ourselves fires up our stress response, which shuts down our capacity to deal with a situation with intelligence. We are more likely to avoid, deny or rationalize our behaviour. Then we stay stuck repeating the same unhealthy behaviours.
When we practice self-compassion we deactivate the stress response and it fosters a more constructive mental state where we can get curious and ask where do I go from here? Research shows that when people are curious about a subject they learn better because curiosity activates our reward system.
I like the idea of applying some healthy discernment. When we do this we can start to see what triggers certain habits (loneliness, anger, boredom) and that these habits are powerful neural connections of thoughts, emotions, and behaviours that we’ve practiced for a lifetime.
Healthy discernment lets us see these “superhighways” and start to put in the work of choosing another path. Compassion is not about letting ourselves off the hook. Instead, it’s a way to be more accountable and resourceful in dealing with our emotions, thoughts, and actions.