Welcome back to another episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit Podcast. Today I want to talk with you about self-compassion and to give you a compassion tool to try if you are struggling with feeling worthy, deserving, or comfortable with self-compassion.
In order to understand this tool, I want you to imagine a scenario. Let’s imagine you are having a moment of fear. In that moment, you may naturally engage in a safety behavior, something that protects you from the fear. Safety behaviors are natural. We as humans have learned to protect ourselves by getting away from danger.
However, a problem that often comes with safety behaviors is the unintended consequence. If you have social anxiety and your safety behavior is to avoid social interactions then the unintended consequence may be that you feel lonely. So if you have a fear and you engage in a safety behavior that leads to unintended consequences, you may then judge yourself for how poorly you handled a situation. Here is where the compassion tool comes in. Before you start judging, I want you to try and catch yourself. This takes a lot of mindfulness. Try and recognize that these safety behaviors are part of the human experience. Try telling yourself “all humans engage in safety behaviors because all humans have felt fear, sadness, guilt or shame. I am going to show myself some compassion.”
Another point to remember is that when we have an emotion whether it is fear or sadness or shame and we engage in a safety behavior another unintended consequence is that we are actually making that emotion feel much bigger. The more you don’t want to feel fear, the stronger and scarier it actually feels. Again, I want you try meeting those emotions with compassion. When you notice fear you may try saying “OK I am having feelings of fear. All humans feel fear. This is a normal experience.” Instead of engaging in a safety behavior you might say “Wow fear, thank you for showing up. Thank you for trying to protect me. I am going to send you well wishes because I want to create a relationship with fear that is positive instead of negative."
I truly hope this compassion tool will be of help to you in those moments of struggle. I hope you will show yourself compassion for all of those emotions and feelings that are part of the human experience.
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