How To Connect With Yourself

Are You Connected To Yourself?

When I speak about self compassion or self love my clients often get blank stares or roll their eyes.  

They ask, “You mean get more massages?”  “Tell myself I love myself?”

Those are all good I say, but what I really mean is how do you treat yourself when you make a mistake or mess up?  

Do you find yourself in a non-stop loop of self judgment and self criticism:

“I shouldn’t have done that!”  

“How could I have…?” 

“I can’t believe I did that!”

What I want to share today is how to assess your screw ups without the negatively and meanness usually associated with making mistakes. 

Understanding Starts With You – Connect with yourself

Compassion starts with figuring out what were your unmet needs (to be helpful or save time) instead of using guilt, shame or anger towards yourself to get you to do “better” next time.  

A lot of these ideas come from the book, Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg.

Marshall explains how negativity and self criticism could be replaced with compassion by examining our motives and constraints at the time of our mistake or screw up.  

It is important to learn how to evaluate events and conditions in ways that help you learn and make better future choices.  

Unfortunately, the way most of us were modeled from early childhood to evaluate ourselves with self-hating thoughts rather than compassion or an opportunity to learn.

How To Evaluate Yourself When You’ve Are Less Than Perfect

When you make a mistake, how do you normally speak to yourself?

Do you say things like, “How could you do that?” “I am always f#*!$ing it up!”  “That was so stupid!”

We look through the lens of right or wrong, good or bad, black or white thinking.  The self criticism dialogue implies you deserve to suffer for what you’ve done.

Even when you do “learn a lesson” it is not from a healthy place it is from the energy of shame or guilt.

Should/Have To

The word “should” in of itself creates enormous guilt and shame as in, “I should have known better” or “I shouldn’t have done that.” It implies there was no choice.

That goes against our human nature of wanting freedom of choice and so we hear “should or have to” as a demand. 

Another way it might feel like a demand is from self evaluations like “What I did was awful – you have to do better next time” or “I really need to exercise more.”  This is telling yourself what you must do “must” do and so you may unconsciously resist.  

All of us hate being forced to do what we should or have to, whether the “shoulds” come from inside or from outside criticisms.

Self Judgments Are Really Unmet Needs

When you say to yourself you are wrong or bad, what you are really saying is I am not fulfilling my own needs.  If you learn to evaluate yourself, in terms of whether and how well you met your needs, you are more likely to learn from the evaluation.

“I didn’t eat breakfast and so I was unfocused and cranky.  I was trying to get into the office early to finish up with my paperwork.”

So you were trying to help yourself by getting your work done, but skipping breakfast was not a good idea.  You could say to yourself, “Next time I will make myself a grab and go breakfast the night before.”

The challenge when you accidentally do something that does not  contribute to your life is to evaluate yourself based on self respect and compassion so that it inspires change rather than self-hatred or guilt.

How To Connect To The Unmet Needs

First step is to recognize judgmental self talk and instead to focus on our underlying needs.

For example, if you rushed out of the house and forgot your wallet and did not realize until you were trying to check out at the grocery store you had no money, you might say to yourself, “Sh#! I’m so stupid. How could I do that? I’ve messed up again!” 

Talking that way to yourself makes you feel frustrated, embarrassed, angry.  

Instead you can stop and ask yourself, “What unmet need lies behind judging myself as as stupid and a mess up?”

Once you shift your attention you might see you rushed out to take care of your son so he was not late for school and to take care of yourself so you were not late for work.  

You can certainly feel upset you spent all that time shopping and then had no money to pay for the groceries.  But you can do it with the understanding, it was from a place of trying to take care of yourself.

Next you can shift your attention to the need you were meeting for your son.  You spent some extra time making him a healthy filling breakfast so his day went well.  Of course, in taking care of his needs you had not taken the time to do that for yourself.  But instead of blame, you can feel compassion for yourself because your needing to rush had come from the desire to care for your son.

From that compassionate place, you can hold both needs.  On one had you hold the need to respond in a caring, loving way to other’s needs and to also be aware of taking better care of your own needs.

Then you are more able to imagine how you might behave differently in future situations more resourcefully than if you did it from a place of self recrimination and judgment.


Recommended Posts For You


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *