You committed yourself to completing the assignment, two weeks before the deadline; you promised yourself that you will exercise three times a week; you planned to eliminate artificial sweets from your diet because they increase your fatigue while studying; you scheduled three hours a day to study your module work. Your plans sounds excellent, you have all the necessary resources to achieve them but there seems to be one recurring problem – you just can’t seem to be consistent with achieving your goals. You keep messing up. For one week, you are committed to the tasks and the next week, you become inconsistent. You can’t seem to get anything right. How do you react? You beat yourself up for another mistake. You criticize yourself. You engage in self-defeating behaviors. Your torture your mind and body for missing yet another deadline.
Perhaps the greatest lesson we can learn as students is that we deserve self-compassion.
With hectic demands and assignments that challenge every fiber in our bodies, the last stress or criticism or judgment our bodies need is a royal whipping from self.
And you know, maybe we are perfect at showing everyone else compassion but ourselves or maybe we are just too busy reaching the goal that we forget to nurture self – the same self that will achieve the goal. That’s okay – we can learn how to be compassionate to ourselves.
As students, let us be patient with our adaption to change and compassionate to ourselves when we mess up. It’s not making an excuse for missing the goal; it’s not being arrogant or complacent; it’s simply empowering self to try harder next time and continue aiming for the target. When we show ourselves love, we reduce our anxiety and fear and become resilient.
I want you to remember that you are human, imperfectly perfect, and you will drop the ball at times. Let us admit it, imperfection is a facet that makes the human experience so rich. The goal is to encourage and motive yourself to become more confident in carrying the proverbial ball. Your soul desires compassion; give it to him/her; you will never motivate and encourage and empower yourself by ‘beating yourself to a pulp.’ Constructive and loving behaviours toward yourself will massage your soul and give it the push to continue meeting the goal.
Consider what caused you to miss the goal and address that issue with gentleness, watch what you tell yourself, what messages are you sending yourself when you fail? Forgive yourself, keep an affirmation in plain sight (‘I am capable of completing this assignment.’ ‘The course work is not beyond me.’), put the mistake behind you and press on toward reaching the finish line. (The finish line may be an assignment, exam, weight goal, elimination of a bad habit.)
Maybe despite what they all told us before coming to graduate school, ‘You cant baby yourself’ ‘Showing self compassion in grad school is for wimps – you wouldn’t meet targets that way’ …. were myths….maybe all their nuggets of wisdom were lies, clouding our minds to a greater truth that a little gentleness and compassion toward self on this stressful journey is necessary.
In the playground of assignments and readings and a workload that IS loaded, dare not to bully yourself but encourage yourself through kindness, love and patience.