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Ever hear that bullying voice playing like a looped record in your mind? The one whose greatest hits include, "You're such a pathetic loser! What a cow! You're so stupid? You're not good enough!"
Whether it's these exact words or a similar tune, many of us have experienced the feelings and choices that come along with them, but not all of us know how to stand up to them.
We nurture compassion within ourselves when we create a different voice through showing kindness and concern for ourself when experiencing stressful thoughts, feelings, and circumstances. Cultivating our inner cheerleader vs. feeding the inner bully motivates us to make healthier choices, which reinforces a feeling of empowerment and resilience in the midst of stress and anxiety.
Self-compassion is like being with the friend who reminds us that our worth as a human being is not determined by the events we experience, or the feelings and thoughts we have about them - they don't define us. It says, "I see you fell and scraped your knees a bunch and it hurts, but scraping your knees doesn't mean you are broken. It means you fell and you will heal. So bring on the peroxide and ointment!" This same perspective can be applied to any challenge we face enabling us to mindfully shift our response each time that nagging voice pumps up the volume.
By becoming more aware of our feelings and experiences - without the critical judgement - we feel calmer, more trusting, and more open to life. We open the lines for true communication and deeper connection in all of our relationships. Instead of reacting to ourselves and others with harsh judgement, we can more easily accept our humanness. Recognizing our shared vulnerability affords us the opportunity to connect and build intimacy with ourselves and in our relationships.
So, next time those pesky negative thoughts arise, invite that friendly voice to pop in and say, "This is where I'm at right now. It's not who am I, it's simply an experience I'm having, and this is how I choose to support myself through it." The more we take the time to mindfully and compassionately explore our internal landscape, the more healthy choices we can make for ourselves and others.
Written by 7 Cups Therapist,Jamie Rautenberg, LCSW
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