I work with many clients who hold themselves to high expectations. I can relate, which I actively try to keep in balance and occasionally succeed at. My clients push themselves. They achieve great things. Sometimes, these high expectations come from self-punishment and self-blame vs. self-compassion and self-kindness. Some of my clients use self-blame and self-punishment as motivating factors to continue to achieve. On the other hand, some don’t believe they will continue to perform at a high level when they are more compassionate with themselves.

Do any of these statements sound familiar? 

How kind are you being to yourself right now? 

We need to remember that we are all human.

Being human is a beautiful thing. It is the source of our strengths and allows for connection with others. However, it also means that we will make mistakes and things will not go as planned, we will not meet some of our goals, etc.

We need to honor all the parts of our humanness. I have had to put a lot of work into this. In the past, I strove to achieve perfection in myself. Now, when I make a mistake, I try to laugh and say, “Darn it. My humanness is showing up again.”

It’s a way for me to pause, shift, and offer up self-compassion and self-kindness and not go into self-blame or punishment. 

It’s my motivation! 

As I noted above, some people are worried that if they don’t self-shame or self-punish, they will start to “slip” and not achieve what they set out to achieve.

Two things can happen with this approach. One is burnout. We can only self-punish so much without feeling the effects in our souls. So yes, you can improve achievement through self-punishment over years and years, but what is the cost?

There are many ways to motivate ourselves to achieve through self-kindness and compassion

Here are just a few ways to encourage ourselves with self-compassion:

  • First, we can motivate ourselves by identifying with our purpose.
  • We can motivate ourselves by defining and aligning our careers, leadership and lives to the legacy we want to leave.
  • Third, we can inspire ourselves through our values.

There are many motivating factors we can tap into that help us achieve great things and are not only easier on our soul, but they also fill us. 

It’s also important to remember that if we continue self-punishment, we may stop taking the risks that make us grow and develop. We know it doesn’t feel good to self-punish. If we don’t change the motivating factor, we won’t put ourselves out there for fear of more self-punishment.

We begin to limit ourselves to protect ourselves; thus, it is not the motivating factor we thought it was. When we start to treat ourselves with compassion and kindness, we can forgive ourselves and know that evolving to our best selves requires us to be human. It will allow you to feel more secure to take risks to grow and to change because even if they don’t work according to plan, you are taking part in the journey to be your best self.

Where are you at on the self-compassion and self-kindness scale?

Your first step is simply noticing when self-judging or self-blame comes into play in your life and when and where self-compassion and self-kindness play a role. Once you know what roles self-compassion and self-kindness are currently playing in your life, you can decide what functions you want them to play. And we can progress from there.

Do you need help recognizing where you can give yourself more kindness and compassion? I’d love to help