10 Guideposts for Wholehearted Living, Guidepost 2

Guidepost Two

Wholehearted living is about engaging with our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion and connection to wake up in the morning and think, ‘No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough.’ It’s going to bed at night thinking, ‘Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.

Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection

I believe we are all brave and worthy of love and belonging.  And I believe we are all capable of learning the skill of learning wholeheartedly.

This is the 2nd in a series as we explore the 10 Guideposts for Wholehearted Living as found in the research of Brené Brown.

These are intentionally designed as simple, direct, two-minute reads that I hope bring you insight, value, and immediately practical application.  And at a minimum, I hope you find them food for thought.



Cultivating Self-Compassion, Letting go of Perfection, Guidepost 2 of Brene Brown's Wholehearted Living

Guidepost 2

Cultivate Self-Compassion

Guidepost 2 encourages us to give up perfectionism.

We all have them, the gremlins and inner chatter saying some variation of,  “Not good enough, not successful enough, not thin enough, not smart enough, not loveable enough.”

Rather than relentlessly judging and criticizing ourselves for inadequacies and shortcomings, Guidepost 2 encourages us to give up perfectionism by practicing self-compassion. At it simplest level, practicing self-compassion means being kind and understanding with ourselves when confronted with personal failings and struggles. After all, who ever said we were supposed to be perfect…besides ourselves?

Brené references the work of Dr. Kristin Neff who offers 3 steps to moving into self-compassion:

    1. Practice Self-Kindness: Check your inner voice. Do you talk to yourself the way you would speak to someone you love? The conversations you have with yourself, if not grounded in facts, can become new truths. Instead, be kind and treat yourself as you would a dear friend.

    2. Remember our Common Humanity: Often, we want to isolate when things get hard. Cultivating self-compassion involves recognizing that suffering and feelings of personal inadequacy are part of the shared human experience and something that we all go through. While our situation may be unique, being in a tough situation doesn’t have to be something that is experienced alone.

    3. Practice Mindfulness: It is impossible to ignore our pain and feel compassion for it at the same time. However, in mindfulness we can strive for a balance so that we not be “over-identified” with thoughts and feelings, so that we are not caught up and swept away by negative reactivity. Consider the analogy of when we swipe our phone: as a thought or feeling comes in, consider recognizing it and making a decision to swipe it “off our screen” in an effort to release it sooner.

Moving into self-compassion is new for most of us. I encourage you to allow yourself to be a slow learners when it comes to practicing self-compassion. Although you may experience feelings of overwhelm and uncomfortable emotions, one of the most self-compassionate things you can do at that moment is pause. And at that moment I encourage you to plant your feet firmly on the ground and focus on your breath. Or, find one of your other go-to self-care behaviors like snuggling with your pet or resetting with a cup of tea.

Remember, this is a skill that gets better with practice!

Join me next month for Guidepost 3:  Cultivating a Resilient Spirit – Letting Go of Numbing and Powerlessness.