Hit the Self-Compassion Reset Button

Everyone hurts. Everyone feels like shit at some point or another. Including coaches. 

In addition to love and light and fuzzy warm feelings, the holidays offer us plenty of opportunities for beating ourselves up—for jumping on the judgment train or sliding down the shame spiral.

I found myself in one of those the other day. I was walking through a crowded marketplace/food court in Los Angeles, trying to find breakfast before settling down to do some work. It was BUSTLING—one of those places where you couldn’t stand anywhere without jostling or getting jostled by someone else. 

And something felt “off.” That is, *I* felt off. I started feeling profoundly uncomfortable and I just wanted to get out of there. As. Fast. As. Possible. And then I started judging myself for that. The shame pistol fired and my mind was off to the races.

Ironically, my goal that morning was to write a post about stillness. And awareness of that fact just made it worse. "SERIOUSLY? What’s going on here? I’m a coach, for-crying-out-loud. WTF." The dark messages and judgments started to pile up.

And then, fortunately, I remembered to pump the brakes. WHOOOA. Where was the compassion—the same attitude I hold my clients in? I reminded myself that my own mess can be just as messy as everyone else’s. It’s not like there’s an approved/sanitized/more aesthetic version of imperfection that is appropriate for me. 

So I got to look at my own motley pile of stuff and say, “Yes. This, too. This is not beyond the reach of compassion. This is *precisely* what compassion was made for.” 

I found a quiet coffee shop. I punted the writing assignment, because the task in front of me seemed much more pressing. And then I was able to sit with myself, start some gentle inquiry, and begin untangling some of the messages beneath my discomfort. I let my mind have its say and I met it at every turn with compassion. And it grew more quiet.

On the way back to the apartment, I deliberately retraced my steps through that same market and had a very different experience. It turns out, the problem wasn’t that the marketplace was too crowded—my head was. 

Sometimes, you will be messy. You will be imperfect. You will fall short of your hopes/expectations. You will judge the shit out of yourself. And I hope you will meet yourself with that very love and compassion that is supposed to be a hallmark of this season.