‘Hey, buddy,’ yourself: A brief guide to self-compassion

 

This is a friendly reminder – to you and myself – of some things that are perfectly understandable, all the time and especially in this tense moment in history:

  • Feeling scared, anxious, worried, sad, and/or shut down
  • Feeling hopeful, playful, joyful, and/or activated
  • Feeling frustrated that you can’t do enough to change the world
  • Feeling frustrated that you can’t fully escape the discomfort of this moment
  • Experiencing an unusual amount of reactivity within yourself; maybe it presents as being less patient, more tired, more drawn to numbing habits like comfort eating or binging shows
  • Catastrophizing
  • Imagining others as less emotionally and intellectually complex than you, or as less empathetic or worthy of empathy

In Shinzen Young’s brilliantly concise equation, Pain x Resistance = Suffering, resistance often comes in the form of wanting what is to be otherwise.

Wishing for the pandemic – either of them, actually: the coronavirus or endemic racism – to vanish is perfectly understandable but the mismatch of what is to what we want to be can not only compound our discomfort but can also lead to problematic behaviors.

Same with not wanting to feel the more challenging bits of your emotional and experiential complexity.

And thinking any of the tools you’ll find in books, online, or even in your coaching meetings will completely eliminate discomfort in any of its forms.

Many of us lean into our intellect at times like these. We binge on news thinking more information will help us feel more involved. Or we try to think our way out of a feeling of anxiety. “Yes, there are people behaving violently but I’m statistically unlikely to interact with any of them.”

Waving stats in front of our emotional selves, though, is about as effective as trying to tempt a dog with a piece of lettuce.

What our emotional selves need instead is what I like to call “Hey, buddy” energy. I invite clients to imagine a friend sitting next to them, hunched slightly under the weight of their challenging emotions. I mime reaching out to rub that friend’s back gently and say, “Hey, buddy. You look down. Want to talk?”

I invite clients to offer that same energy to themselves, a quiet, willing, open presence. Maybe the friend talks, maybe they don’t. Maybe our emotions allow some useful tidbit to bubble up from our unconscious, maybe they don’t. Either way, the effort is more important than the outcome, the creation of loving space to be however one is in that moment, to release the resistance and accept that sometimes, life can be painful, but that suffering is a choice.

And if the friend doesn’t want to talk then?

“Hey, buddy, I’m here for you. No pressure, no rush. Just know I’m here.”

You’ve got it, buddy.


So far, hundreds of people I’ve been lucky enough to coach have found relief, clarity, and direction by working with me to create meaningful relationships with their inner buddies and gremlins. Let me know if you’re ready to schedule a chat about how coaching can benefit you, too. Our community, The Bigger Badder Crew, has a spot waiting for you, too. Join us.