Self-Love & Compassion

Feb 22, 2024

Thank you so much for the amazing response to my January blog! I am truly grateful for all the encouragement and kind words from each and every one of you. Putting my blog out there was a bit nerve-wracking, but your support has made me feel accomplished. Writing allows me to be my authentic self, and I’m thrilled to share my honesty and passion for Isorropia with all of you.

February has flown by, the days are getting a little longer, and the sun is beginning to shine a little more. I have been building my confidence in delivering workshops to you amazing members and enjoying pancakes and valentines, especially pancakes. In the spirit of love, I want to talk about an incredibly important love – self-love, compassion, and kindness.

My Journey to Self-Love & Compassion

When I first started my journey at Isorropia, everything felt unfamiliar to me. For years, I had struggled with self-doubt and self-criticism, never truly accepting myself or allowing myself to feel deserving of kindness. I was my own worst enemy, constantly bombarding myself with negative thoughts and beliefs. A well-being coach once asked me to write something positive about myself, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. The word “positive” felt foreign and insincere. It was a difficult task to express anything pleasant about myself.

After many tears and much hesitation, I finally gave it a try. I had always believed that I was a bad mother, so writing “I’m a good mother” felt dishonest. Instead, I settled for “I’m an okay mother.” I knew I needed to start somewhere, and I had to take it at my own pace.

I began by jotting down the kind words people said to me, even though I didn’t believe them at first. It felt right for me. Whenever a well-being coach complimented me during a workshop, I would write it down. I also started acknowledging the positive things I did, like speaking at a workshop or spending quality time with my children. Little did I know I was collecting evidence to counter my negative thoughts and beliefs. This practice gradually improved my self-esteem.

Self-love and compassion aren’t always about rainbows and butterflies. It’s not just about constantly telling yourself how amazing you are, although it’s important to be your own biggest supporter. Self-love is about being gentle with yourself, free from judgment, and understanding that your thoughts and feelings are valid. I no longer tell myself that I can’t have negative feelings. What I feel and think is not wrong; it’s valid.

Being gentle and honest with oneself can be challenging, but it’s crucial to remember that your feelings are valid and acceptable. It’s crucial that we begin to value ourselves and treat ourselves with respect. If we don’t respect ourselves, it becomes difficult for others to respect us as well. It’s important to have faith in our emotions and thoughts. We are allowed to feel and think the way we do. It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s wrong; it’s just a natural response. While our feelings and thoughts belong to us, they may not always be accurate. If evidence contradicts them, it’s essential to take steps to challenge and disprove them. Have confidence in your own judgments and actions.

The Thought Diary

One of the tools I love from Isorropia is the thought diary. I use it every day, and it has been really helpful. Whenever I have a negative thought, I write it down and reflect on it. Here’s an example of a thought I wrote in August 2022:

“I’m starting to feel more self-aware and okay, but I’m worried it won’t last; what if I become ill again?”

Identify the feeling: failure, shame, worry, fear, hopelessness

EVIDENCE FOR

EVIDENCE AGAINST

It hasn’t lasted before; I’ve failed in the past.

This time might be different because I’ve been working hard, and I have support from Isorropia. I’m making myself a priority now.

 

My response to the negative thoughts above:

Dear Karleigh, I know you’re going through a tough time, but remember that you’re making an effort to prevent falling back into old patterns. Nobody is flawless, so don’t be too hard on yourself. What truly counts are the actions you take. Take a moment to prioritize your well-being and continue working on yourself. Stay focused on finding comfort in the present moment.

In this instance, I’m not suggesting that I shouldn’t feel that way or that I will never be unwell again and need to be okay all the time. That would be unrealistic and wouldn’t allow me to truly understand my emotions. Instead, I acknowledge that it’s difficult because it truly is, and I’m only human. I look at the evidence against those negative thoughts and treat myself with kindness.

I realised that I needed to be kind to myself, so I created an inner coach, a friend in my head. This has played a crucial role in my journey towards self-compassion. Whenever I find myself self-sabotaging or doubting myself, I ask myself, “Would I say this to a friend?” and “What advice would I give to a friend who shared this thought with me?” We often say things to ourselves that we would never say to others, so why do we treat ourselves differently? I learned from our wonderful wellbeing coach, Naomi, that “it’s important to make our minds a positive and nurturing place.”

Self-love and compassion may not come naturally to many of us; it takes practice and persistence. However, it is a journey worth embarking on! When we take the time to pause, question, and challenge our automatic thought process, we lay the groundwork for greater happiness, resilience, and authentic connection with ourselves and others.

Ways to Practice Self-Love

  • Forgiveness – is the act of letting go of anger, resentment, and bitterness toward oneself or others. Letting go of these things allows us to become truly responsible for our feelings and behaviours.
  • Self-acceptance – is the act of accepting yourself exactly as you are, and acknowledging that your value goes beyond your personal attributes and actions.
  • Boundaries – are the guidelines you establish to safeguard your emotional and physical well-being. This draws a line between what you will and won’t accept, both from yourself and others.
  • Honesty – Being honest and open with oneself is a fundamental part of personal growth. It promotes self-esteem, compassion, and an unshakeable belief in oneself.

These are just a few ways I personally practice self-love. However, it’s important to remember that everyone is unique, so what works for me may not work for you. To gain a different perspective on this, I interviewed Neil S, a well-being coach at Isorropia. Neil has helped numerous individuals on their journeys towards wellness. I asked Neil what self-love and compassion means to him.

Meet the faces behind Isorropia: Neil S

Name/Nickname:

Neil Simmons. I was often called “Simmo” in my younger days, (which was not very original) to be honest!! But my affectionately known as Neil S amongst my colleagues.

Job Role:

I am a Co-ordinate/Wellbeing Coach with a multitude of roles and responsibilities which keeps me busy, but I really enjoy my role at Isorropia

Favourite Workshop:

I think the “Effective Communication” workshop is my favourite. There are many elements to how we can communicate and get our needs met. It’s not all about the words we use, there are so many different aspects help us communicate more effectively. It’s all about becoming aware of the hidden signals we might give off, which may not be received as we intended. I would highly recommend this workshop to anyone who struggles to communicate and finds that often our needs are not being met.

What keeps you well?

I love Football. I coach an Under 16s team and I also play twice a week. This is not only good for my health, but it keeps my brain very active when I have to think about Practice Drills, Team selections, coaching players and motivating them regularly. I play and I have to admit I’m not very good It’s probably time to hang my boots up, but my head still thinks I’m David Beckham.

Favourite Quote:

“Do all the things that bring you joy & contentment TODAY, because today will be yesterday’s tomorrow!”

What does self-love mean to you, and how do you practice self-love?

I love to go to live music venues and see some up-and-coming bands which is exciting. I also really enjoy going to watch the football at my beloved Fratton Park to watch Portsmouth play.

I like messing with technology and making things work if they are not working as they should (Nerdy pastime. I know!!) but I get a sense of achievement when things work as they should.

I also like walks on the seafront and through the forest, this cleanses the mind and keeps me fit and active.

Journaling for Wellbeing

I’m known for my love of journaling, and many people have shown interest in it. That’s why I’ve decided to provide a brief overview of the benefits of writing and a few prompts. I hope this information proves helpful. If writing with a pen makes your hand ache, try using the notes on your phone, laptop, or tablet instead, or just talk to a trusted person however you show yourself kindness, do what works for you.

A lot of people wonder how to start a journal? “I don’t know what to write”.

Remember, there is no right or wrong way to journal.

When you start journaling, my best suggestion is to go with the flow. Don’t force it, or else it will become a chore. It doesn’t have to be beautiful; the words don’t have to be spelled perfectly, and no one but you will read it. Don’t judge yourself or set expectations. Instead, begin with a question, like asking yourself how your day went.

Simply putting your thoughts on paper is an act of kindness towards yourself. Journaling has been extensively studied, and one of the pioneers in this field is social psychologist James W. Peenebaker.

‘In his book, Opening Up, James W Pennebaker, PhD, documented his decades-long research into the healing effects of writing. Pennebaker proved what many people have found incidentally through keeping a journal or diary: If we can create a cohesive personal narrative of our lives and if we can link up our emotions with specific events, then we have the power to take control of how those emotions and events affect our lives.’ Read Article Here

Writing allows us to express our inner thoughts, feelings, and experiences, providing clarity and insight. On average, we have 50,000 to 80,000 thoughts per day, most of which are stored unconsciously. By dedicating just 10-15 minutes a day, journaling can help us manage and even overcome negative emotions.

10 Journaling Prompts for Self-Love

  • What are my best qualities?
  • When do I feel most at peace?
  • How can I take better care of myself?
  • If I couldn’t fail, what would I do?
  • Make a list of 10 things that make you smile.
  • If I could talk to my teenage self, what advice would I give?
  • What do I love about life?
  • When do I feel most confident? When do I feel less confident?
  • What skills do I have?
  • Write about a moment that you felt brave.

What's On at Isorropia Foundation?

The well-being hub has been incredibly successful, with a variety of ongoing programs and many more planned for the future. Many members have shared how these programs have helped them forge meaningful connections with others, providing them with a safe space where they feel understood, and the breathing exercises and calming activities have brought them a great sense of joy and relief.

Wellbeing Activity Warm Hub – MEMBERS ONLY – Funded by SNG formerly Sovereign Housing Association, Sovereign Housing’s Mental Health Day Small Grants.

These sessions will run EVERY TUESDAY from 10 – 12 in the main lounge at Medina Valley Centre.

  • 10 – 11 Wellbeing Activity ‘Taster’ Drumming, sound bath, mindful movement
  • 11- 12 Tea/Coffee and a chat around the log burner

Colder months can lead to people being caught in a cycle of social isolation, reduced mobility, increased pain, anxiety, negative mindset and depression. Breaking this cycle requires a meaningful purpose for getting out of the house and a reduction of barriers to doing this.

These FREE sessions run from January to the end of March and aim to supply a ‘Taster’ session of wellbeing activities that you might like to continue within your own community to maintain your physical and mental wellbeing independently.

The shuttle bus is available:

  •  9.30 am – Pick up Morrisons.
  • 12.10 pm – Drop off Morrisons.

Please CLICK HERE to reserve your space on BookWhen or call 01983 217791.

PLEASE NOTE: ‘Wellbeing Activity Warm Hub’ is exclusively for Isorropia members. All members who have graduated the structured Wellbeing Programme (post-Gift Graduates) are welcome to attend. Pre-Gift members need to be actively engaging in regular workshops in order to participate in Isorropia’s social activities.

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