I’ve been thinking about the opportunity that the winter holidays bring for us to focus on our wellness. Sometimes the season brings extra time with our family and friends, which allows us to focus on our relational and social wellbeing. However, sometimes the holidays bring extra stress that comes from pressure we put on ourselves to travel, meet the needs of different family members and attend lots of extra fun, but sometimes taxing events. This year, why not take a moment or two to focus on just one area of wellness that you would like to pay attention to. Do you need some spiritual refreshment? What has brought you spiritual wellness in the past? What about your physical wellness? Does that mean trying that yoga class you’ve been meaning to check out or just getting some extra rest? Wellness means different things to different people. I invite you to think for a few moments about your views of physical, spiritual, relational, intellectual and emotional wellness. Reflect on your best hopes for each area this holiday season and then pick one or two areas to engage with more deeply. Try and envision the small steps you could take toward achieving optimal wellness in those particular areas. See if this opportunity to make incremental changes toward growth in those areas leads to a better sense of overall wellness this holiday season. Wishing you well this holiday season!
“Why would I make excuses for myself?” is a common response I get from clients when I talk about self-compassion. My response is normally something along the lines of “would it be OK if you COULD excuse yourself?”. Or, “What if in order to find the change you’re looking for you first have to learn to unconditionally love all parts of your self–including your “flaws” non-judgmentally with kindness and patience?”.
So much of our pain is derived from the critical voices in our heads. That critical voice may remind you of a certain time in your life when some terrible thing happened to you, or maybe it convinces us that things have always been this way and there’s no change in sight. We may feel ashamed, isolated, or sad because we have failed to live up to our own, our parents, or society’s expectations and believe that we won’t be lovable or acceptable until we do.
Self-Compassion is the recognition that no matter what is happening in our lives, we are lovable. When things are going well, we give ourselves permission to experience that joy–instead of anxiously waiting for the next bad thing to tell us that we should not be experiencing joy. Or, when we are suffering, self compassion becomes a kind of supportive voice from within that helps us find beauty and meaning. It is a reminder that we are all universally connected in this world through our experience of suffering — we are not alone!
Self compassion is NOT self-indulgence, self-pity, or passivity. Self compassion includes an understanding that learning, growth, and failure are fundamental parts of life; it is the desire to relieve suffering and that in order to do so a concrete change may need to be made in our lives. It provides us with an internal source of emotional regulation and resilience. It is the belief that we are inherently worthy of love and respect.
If you or someone else you know in the Atlanta area could benefit from cultivating self-compassion please contact Isom E White, LCSW of Counseling Associates for Well-Being – Smyrna/Vinings for an appointment today!
Isom E White, LCSW
3050 Atlanta Rd Smyrna, GA 30080
Aaron D. Kirkwood, LAMFT, will be starting a group for couples entitled Collaborative Relationship Enhancement Group and is seeking feedback from couples in committed relationship. If you are in a committed relationship and would like to respond please follow the link below to take this very brief survey. Your feedback will help to shape the group so that it is useful for couples looking to improve their relationships. This is an informal information gathering survey for the purpose of ensuring that the group is useful for couples who might attend. If you have questions or comments please fill free to reach out to Aaron at (706) 534 – 8558 or Aaron@ca4wellbeing.com
The survey can be found at this link.