Do You Know the One Thing Strong Women Practice? Fierce Self-Compassion!
It takes strength to stand up for what you believe in and to stand against adversity. Yet, every day strong women are doing so with style, grace and fierceness. When someone you love is threatened, you defend them like a mama bear defending her cub. Sometimes we have to get angry to make our point! Or think about when a cherished value — like honesty or justice — is threatened, don’t you apply all your resources to achieve balance and harmony again? And to get ahead in the corporate world, you’ve stepped forward and powerfully climbed up the ladder to success, didn’t you?
But to become one of these strong women, did it feel like you had to abandon some of your nurturing, feminine side? Does it feel as if gender-role expectations make you hide your whole, true self, like you can’t show your compassionate side?
I’ve been wanting to write on this topic for a while. Then I read a new book, “FIERCE SELF-COMPASSION: How Women Can Harness Kindness to Speak Up, Claim Their Power and Thrive” by Dr. Kristin Neff. I love it when someone else expresses my thoughts so well. It’s thrilling to read her words:
“Whenever I notice something about myself I don’t like, or whenever something goes wrong in my life, I silently repeat the following phrases: This is a moment of suffering. Suffering is part of life. May I be kind to myself in this moment. May I give myself the compassion I need.”
“It becomes understood that happiness is not dependent on circumstances being exactly as we want them to be, or on ourselves being exactly as we’d like to be. Rather, happiness stems from loving ourselves and our lives exactly as they are, knowing that joy and pain, strength and weakness, glory and failure are all essential to the full human experience.”
“When we’re mainly filtering our experience through the ego, constantly trying to improve or maintain our high self-esteem, we’re denying ourselves the thing we actually want most. To be accepted as we are, an integral part of something much greater than our small selves. Unbounded. Immeasurable. Free.”
That’s what I want for you, strong women…fierce self-compassion!
How Strong Women Practice Fierce Self-Compassion
Strong women are not victims. They choose not to stay as they are if they are hurting, challenged, or stressed. They ask themselves, “What do I need to help me to feel better, function more efficiently or productively cope?” Sometimes this requires that we love ourselves as we are in the moment. But at other times, it calls for fierce action.
When you really think about it, self-compassion has to be fierce, as well as, tender. We all need TLC to restore our energy when we’re stressed and messed up. It helps us experience our pain and move on. It takes tender compassion to give ourselves some slack when we’re tired or having a bad day.
But then we need fierce compassion to drag or push ourselves out of a bad situation. Sometimes it’s a real fight with ourselves because we tell ourselves we don’t deserve it or we don’t have the time. Plus we might be fighting against outside influences. It takes strength to say “No” as you draw your boundaries. Especially so, when you’re fighting your own self-talk and ingrained habits. Give yourself permission to be fierce! To say “Yes” to yourself in matters that affect your emotional, physical and spiritual health takes great inner strength.
When you possess these two faces of self-compassion you’re balanced and will have the inner strength you need when you want to transform an area of your life you’re not happy with. Be nurturing and be fierce. After all, to nurture means you’re giving yourself the environment you need to flourish, like a flower in the garden. And sometimes that means being strong enough to pull out “the weeds” that are trying to choke your growth.
Do you feel as if you lack that strength? Are there parts of your life you’re not happy with, but don’t know how to change them? If you would like to learn how to Step Forward, to know how to promote yourself and be your full, true self, wherever you are, then you’re in the right place! I’m developing a new program to help you balance your ambition with your emotional sensitivity. I invite you to download an Introduction to The Stepping Forward Program and begin or continue your journey to becoming one of the strong women that the world needs.