Have Some Self-Compassion This January

January has always been a difficult month for me. With less sun and warm days and days off to look forward to, it’s easy to fall into a depressed state. I’ve been sleeping a lot more, and I have less energy to do the things I love.

The difference this year is I acknowledge it’s January (so simple, right?), and I know where my lack of energy is stemming from. For the next three weeks of the month, now that I’ve recovered from the holidays, I am making a commitment to write every day (not necessarily on this blog). It doesn’t have to be much — yesterday, I wrote two sentences — and it can take the form of any medium.

But I hope by making this commitment to myself, I can keep the winter blues at bay and find some fulfillment on the most challenging days. Sometimes, a little self-compassion and confidence can go a long way.

A few months ago, I was feeling a bit lost on my personal and professional paths. I was being particularly hard on myself for getting wrapped up in what I called “failed initiatives.” I had put myself out there, and I felt rejected. So, taking a cue from Dr. Kristin Neff, a pioneer when it comes to self-compassion (she wrote the book on it), I wrote a letter to myself, from the perspective of a close friend (I’ve included an excerpt below).

Dear Friend,

There is something you should know. You are wonderful just the way you are. If you feel you are too “emotional,” then maybe you are not surrounding yourself with the right people, who see the value of your emotional presence. You feel a lot. You have incredible amounts of empathy. This is not a fault. This is a gift. And in no way, does that make you not “good enough.” 

It just means you are opening yourself up to a much deeper and more complex connection. You are processing so many emotions at once that you’re able to sustain a sense of advanced well-being. You do not keep yourself in the dark for long. But you don’t stay aloof on a high note either. You’re practical with your emotions. You’re okay experiencing what others would deem “bad” emotions because you know they are necessary to living and growing and being. And you will only continue to grow if you let yourself experience these emotions.

Now what you choose to share with others is up to you. Not everyone understands the intensity of these emotional levels. But never think you are being too vulnerable. Because what you are doing – putting your heart out there and letting the world see you for you – is incredibly brave. You will go so much farther in this life staying true to yourself like that. And you will feel more fulfilled, too. So regardless of the outcome, know that you did what was best for you. I think that’s a wonderful type of person to be.  

Trust yourself, too. Just because you feel something doesn’t mean you have to share it. Sometimes the first step to being vulnerable is being vulnerable with yourself. You have to accept those emotions as real, and you have to tell yourself that it is okay for you to feel a certain way. There is nothing wrong with how you feel. It’s ultimately up to you what you decide to do about it. But you are not wrong or weak.

You are human. You are incredible. You are amazing. You are confident. You are smart. And you have a heart. You love deeply. Those close to you already know this. That’s why we love you. Because no matter what, we know that you will always have our backs. And it goes both ways. The love you give us is worth it. Because it is genuine. It is vulnerable. It is you. And only you.

You are not inadequate. You are the moon. Go. Shine brightly this night. The universe needs more moons like you.

Sincerely,

A Friend

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