A few years ago I made a series of video clips about personality disorders and various types of counseling. They received tens of thousands of views and tons of subscribers. I’m not sure why I stopped doing that, but today I was thinking about my Youtube audience.
I’m always trying to find the best ways to reach my various audiences and today I had an idea: Why not talk about one of the books I was reading, make a video clip on Youtube, and write a bit more about it here on my blog. It seemed easier than trying to created a podcast—I’m the least technical girl in the world.
If you’ve followed my blog for very long you know I read a lot. About 60 books a year and most are self-help.
I also make a lot of videos of my family. Sorry, I realize that gets confused with my tagline: Help for Hurting People.
So in an effort to get back on track with my Youtube videos I wanted to talk to you today about self compassion. You may or may not have heard about self compassion but it’s a huge theme these days, especially in the clinical counseling arena.
Many years ago I was a perfectionist. I was terrified of letting anyone see my flaws. Fortunately, I had a mentor who saw right through that coping strategy. He created a place for me over two and half years where I could slowly begin to unravel the pieces of my story. All of it, the good and the bad.
I remember one day I had a memory that came to light. It was so painful I had pushed it out of my conscience for a dozen years. But those two and a half years of therapy were like playing the Whack-a-Mole game. The more I pulled out one memory to process and grieve, the more other memories pushed to be heard. I told my mentor I was scared to tell him about this particular one. He dimmed the lights in his office. I shared the story then placed my face in my hands and wept. It felt like I sobbed forever but when I looked up he had a genuine smile on his face.
“Lucille, you believe I think less of you, but I don’t. I see your courage.”
A thousand pounds of weight slipped off my shoulders. Shortly after that I went to the lake by my house. I found the biggest most jagged rock and threw it into the water. It was a metaphor for the stones I beat myself with on a daily basis for decades. The water that splashed back baptized me.
Not really . . . but really.
After those two and half years I was able to talk about my strengths and my weaknesses, my light and my dark side. Today I love and accept myself with all my flaws. Of course I still try to live better, eat healthier, read my Bible, help people, etc., but when I fall short I still love Lucille.
In the book Emotional Agility by Susan David, PhD she says we think self compassion is a weak behavior. But really it’s the opposite. She teaches us to treat ourselves as we would a younger version of ourselves who was scared or hurt. Research shows that being able to do this sharpens your edge. David says, “… it’s even associated with eating right, exercising, sleeping well, and managing stress during tough times, which is needed when you need to care for yourself the most. It even strengthens your immune system, helping to ward off illness, while encouraging social connection and positive emotion.” (page 75) There’s so much more in this book and it’s super easy to read because it’s filled with interesting anecdotes.
I hope you’ll check it out.
Here’s more in a 6-minute video clip:
Can you describe a time when you were self compassionate?
Lucille Zimmerman is a Licensed Professional Counselor with a private practice in Littleton, CO and an affiliate faculty teacher at Colorado Christian University.
She is also the author of Renewed: Finding Your Inner Happy in an Overwhelmed World. Through practical ideas and relatable anecdotes, readers can better understand their strengths and their passions—and address some of the underlying struggles or hurts that make them want to keep busy or minister to others to the detriment of themselves. Renewed can help nurture those areas of women’s lives to use them better for work, family, and service. It gives readers permission to examine where they spend their energy and time, and learn to set limits and listen to “that inner voice."