At certain points in life, we are all prone to falling into negative habit patterns which undo our sense of progress and contentment in life and drive us farther away from our ideal lives, rather than closer towards them.
Often, when we reach our breaking point and decide that it’s time to make a series of dramatic changes to our habits, we attempt to brutalize ourselves onto the right track, rather than taking the kind of measured, consistent steps that will lead to long-term progress.
Among other things, this can be seen in the prevalence of extreme crash diets, overtraining in the gym, and depriving ourselves of the sleep and downtime that contribute both to our health and our overall enjoyment of life.
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When our issues are relatively minor, such a dramatic and unforgiving approach to self-improvement can be quite devastating enough. When we’re faced with more serious life issues, however, such as the type which requires visits to drug rehab centers, a lack of self-compassion can be fatal.
Here are some reasons why you should really try a bit of self-compassion when working to quit your bad habits and regain control of your life.
You will rebel against your own tyranny
People are naturally driven to rebel when they feel confronted by tyranny. Often, we take it for granted that the tyranny we exercise over ourselves is different. “I’m choosing this, so I WILL listen to myself”.
Yet, when all is said and done, we are not the absolute sovereign rulers of ourselves. We have subconscious drives and aspects of our personalities that will rebel when we tyrannize ourselves.
You may be able to force yourself, by sheer will, to stick with a truly grueling exercise routine for a while. But eventually, you’ll find that it becomes harder and harder to stick with. You become more and more agitated, upset, impatient, and apathetic. Then, one day, you just throw your hands up in the air and stop working out altogether.
Self-compassion, which involves you making reasonable changes that you can tolerate, and then rewarding yourself, is the antidote to this.
You’re in a marathon, not a sprint
Related to the previous point; it often doesn’t matter so much what you do in terms of effort and drives in the short term, but rather in the long term. To make truly positive life changes, you need to realize that you’re in it for the long-haul. This is a marathon, not a sprint.
Start as small as you can today, and then work your way up in a positive direction, at a pace you can sustain over the months, and years, to come.
For that reason, you need to form a positive relationship with yourself that can withstand the test of time. That requires some self-compassion.
You fail more when you’re upset and run-down, you succeed more when you’re happy and energized
Being overly harsh with yourself will make you sad, tired, and resentful. Even if you can continue driving yourself on at an eternal breakneck pace (which you can’t), you will find other elements of your life untangling if you try to live this way.
When your chronic unhappiness degrades the relationships you hold dear, your life and productivity as a whole will begin to unravel dramatically and will keep unraveling until you change your approach.
Self-compassion is essential to well-being and happiness. A degree of wellbeing and happiness is essential to a life of growth and self-improvement.
This post is a contributed post.