Dropping the first of many bonus episodes, y'all! Today, I want to discuss self-compassion because I think it is definitely beneficial for this holiday season and your life overall.
How do you look at or frame self-compassion?
Getting sober had me stumbling and falling into figuring out who I was. I had no clue, I talked to myself poorly and it showed up in all my relationships (friends, family, romantic or otherwise). It was nuts. So, I wanted to talk about my journey (that is still going on). In this episode, I will talk about:
Things that I talked about during this episode:
Stay safe out there, friends! Here is the link to some online AA meetings.
If you're looking for a black therapist or resources, check this out!
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Hello, my name is Cynthia, welcome to the latest episode of getting together a podcast where we discuss what it's like to get it all the way together, or at least attempt to one day at a time. Hey, everybody, welcome to the latest episode. Today, I want to really kind of dive into like self compassion, right? I am a big believer in self compassion. It is something that did not enter my vocabulary until I was sober. So I didn't learn about this until my late mid late 30s, y'all, and it kind of blew open my whole world. And it's something that I kind of just always go back to always talk about when it comes to anything in life. It can be recovery specific. And you know, everyone who listens to the show, it shows basically about recovery. But this can be applied to anything in life, even if it's It has nothing to do with drugs or alcohol. Alcohol being for me what this triggered everything. But I just think self compassion is just a wonderful thing. And I'm so happy and thankful that I found out about it. Also another thing that I've people that listen to my show have listened to other interviews and things that I've done, I talk a lot about self compassion, and a book, in particular, a book from Kristin Neff about self compassion, she was also on therapy for black girls as well. Lovely, great interview, I was so excited. I will also link to that interview in the show notes. So you can listen to that as well. But she kind of just goes through about how self compassion should be like part of your self care, right? It's something that you probably if you're not exposed to this vernacular, this thinking that it's something you probably have to teach yourself, but it's something that is beneficial for your mental and physical well being. So some people may be listening like, well, what is self compassion, if you didn't quickly Google it, you know, because some of us are quick with the Google. I'm not gonna lie. But self compassion is really about how you look at yourself, how you talk to yourself, how you treat yourself, and what order you put your needs, when it comes to other people, and things like that. Because I feel like a lot of us are taught how to be compassionate when it comes to other people. So like, if it's a kid or a child, most of us, like, you know, are very compassionate and very kind like, like, how are you doing? What do you need? Are you okay? And like other people that we care about, like family or friends? Most of us, right? We will do that? Like, how are you? Are you okay? I'm just thinking, I'm just checking in blah, blah, blah, all that stuff, because I know I do that, but people that I hear about, but when it comes to yourself, do you also talk to yourself like that? Do you check in with yourself? Do you know what's going on with you? Right? Do you understand what's going on with you? Can you name what you're feeling? Can you name what you're thinking? Can you talk about it? Or now? Are you just reacting to it. And I think that is kind of like for me the basis of like self compassion in the world. I don't know if there's even a course about this. But there's a course or something about this, I would sign up for it like today, because I've learned about myself so much through the course of just this book. And then the work that I've done applying the tools, applying the thinking, I've just learned so much about not only myself, but like how my relationships were working, because I've had long term relationships with people, friends and family and they weren't the healthiest. And some of that had to do with me not being a healthy person. Just putting it out there just being honest. But then I was thinking okay, so now we know what self compassion is. So how do some of us have self compassion and why others do not have self compassion? So self love? I would say it's almost like unrequited. That was it's kind of like a quote I read in this and Kristin neffs book, but it's sort of like when something is unrequited and romantic, compat innocence, like one person's giving, but the other person's not really into it. And I feel like that is similar to being self compassion, right? When you don't you have a lack of self compassion. You don't have a love for yourself. So it's unrequited self love is unrequited within you, right. And so like how did you get here, and I think a lot of this and I can only speak for me a lot of my stuff, I had to really dig deep because on the surface and look mainly because like, especially when I was drinking, I used alcohol. I use sacks. I use a lot of things to cover up how I was really feeling and how I was really showing up for myself in the world or showing up for people. I kind of just coded it so I didn't have to think about it. I didn't have to assess when I was newly sober. I didn't have the vocabulary. I didn't understand a lot of things. And it was kind of like being a child. I had to learn a lot of stuff granted, I learned and I'm still learning I will always be learning. I learned really a lot really fast which I like I said I always say like my First year in recovery, I learned so much about myself in the world and things that I was just missing for so many years of my life. But I, when it came to me really understanding self compassion, I had to go back and look at my, how I was raised and start really looking at the parallels. Because a lot of what we do is like, we're not always 100% conscious of what we're doing, or how we're reacting, being self aware, is something that often times A lot of us have to learn. I know, I've had one of my best friend, she says, like, I'm the one of the most self aware people that she knows now. But that didn't happen overnight, and they're still blind spots, there's still things that tripped me the hell up. And there's still things I'm going to be continuing learning about myself. So this is something I want you to go into it thinking like, this is something that you're going to have to keep working on, you won't always have the answers. And that's part of what makes it interesting. But also it kind of alleviates that pressure of like, I have to be perfect, I have to get it right, I have to understand it. 100%, it's like you'll learn a lot, you'll be able to assess things that are showing up showing up as a pattern for you and being able to like, like, navigate around that or through it, but there's going to be situations that you're throwing in, and you're going to be like what, what the hell, you know, a lot of this stuff probably is attributed to most of us, because there's going to be exceptions and outliers until like how we were raised. Like, for me, I was raised in a very verbally abusive home with my from my mother, most of it, my dad allowed a lot of stuff, my brother's my brother, and he, you know, he was the golden child. So he didn't really have much to say or back, it would he wouldn't back down from that or back or support me. And I have friends in school. But I didn't really fit in I didn't like the town that I was raised in for the most part, I just didn't feel safe anywhere, right, didn't feel safe at home didn't feel safe at school, I was constantly on high alert. So I learned that I had to present myself as a certain way in order to feel loved and accepted. Which means that it didn't necessarily mean that that's how I truly was or that was my personality, I denied myself being able to show my true colors or my true self and opted instead to be what I thought others wanted me to be, which also only worked for a certain amount of time. Because I don't know if it's true for you guys. But I know for me, like if I started showing myself in a certain way, I would either try to manipulate it into my favor. Or I would get really resentful because I was like, Well, why don't you like who I really am. And then I would do very self destructive things or be very aggressive and like burst out and make a scene, all this other type of stuff. But a lot of that stuff came from having like really critical parents having a critical mother. And then being in an environment where I was other I was like usually the only black or the one of two black people, two to three black people and a class. And it my school wasn't that diverse at all, especially when I started getting into more of the AP honors classes. So I had a lot of fear of people. I didn't understand the world. And I thought that my my view of the world was really skewed because I never had the ability to say had anyone say how you are as you know, good. How you hours. Okay, what do you like, what do you enjoy is more of like, Cynthia, you should be this. You're the firstborn, all your family went to college, you're gonna have to go to college, you're gonna have to be have a serious profession. You can't mess around. You can't do this. You know, I remember once when I was going away to college, and my mother said to me, instead of saying like something like, Well, I hope you because my mom didn't finish college. My mom was so smart, smart ass woman didn't finish finished college. And I actually don't believe you need college, a college degree to be successful. Like, I'm not one of those people. And I think I'm like that because of my mom. And even my brother because my brother didn't go to college either. And he's smart, too. You know, I think there's different ways to be intelligent. And I've met a lot of people that were book smart, but had no street smarts and couldn't function. And I'm like, how do you not hurt yourself every day? It is what it is. I think it's down to personality. That's a whole different thing. And I'm on a tangent back to my mom. My mom didn't finish college. And I remember I was going away to college for after the summer or something like that. And she said to me, instead of saying something like, I hope you do really well. I know you're a smart kid. I hope you do really well this semester this quarter, right? And so she said to me, just don't get pregnant. And I was like, okay, you know, because my mom got pregnant with me in college. And I was like, all right, and she didn't finish. So I'm like, Well, are you blaming me for not finishing school? It's like one of those things. So that's the types of things that I would get. I wouldn't say like you did really well. Or I'm glad you, you. You're you're on the Dean's list. You're working and you have you're taking five classes, you know, I never got like that I got like don't get pregnant. So I was sitting there like okay, well Well, I can't get pregnant. So I'm not going to do that, of course, so I have to be straitlaced. So I didn't really date much in college, I had a girlfriend, I think in my junior year, but that was a whole different thing. She was just like an extension of my mom, really, when I look at it very controlling how to be a certain way. But But that was the type of thing you know, I was never made to feel like I could be myself. The only times I felt like I was close to being myself was when I was drunk. And I didn't have that whole burden of like center, you have to be perfect. I could blame with quotes my actions on the alcohol. But reality was that I was using alcohol as the crutch. Because I really wanted to be the one that acted out. I wanted to be the one that did bad things to myself, because it was a reflection of how I truly felt about myself. I felt like I didn't deserve nice things. I felt like I didn't deserve nice friends. I felt like I didn't deserve nice people in my life romantically. I didn't. I felt like I didn't deserve to hear nice things about myself, people would pay me a compliment. And I would just be like, stop, I would feel so uncomfortable. My therapist would ask me, people would ask me, like, well named, like, say three things about yourself that you really like? And then my one answer usually was like, I think I'm kind of a good person. So I wasn't even definite about that. So there was a lot of that I was kind of unpacking because I just lived in us for so many years of my life. I just, it was just my reality. It was my identity. So when I got sober, I had to really take a step back and look at all the stuff and say like, okay, Cynthia, this is kind of what you know about yourself now. And then let's kind of revisit the past. And that wasn't something that happened overnight. It was gradual, because there's a lot and I'm still unpacking stuff with my family still. And you're gonna go through the range of emotions, happiness, and sadness, and anger and bitterness, like you're gonna go through all of the things, and you're just gonna have to be like, you know, this is just where I am right now. But even with this, you still have to kind of be putting yourself like first, right? Or being kind to yourself through this. And that's sort of just saying, you know what, I'm just gonna honor what I'm feeling right now. I'm not saying put it on other people. I'm just saying like, I'm on our my feeling right now. So I want to ask you, if you're fine, or how are you? My blanket answer was always I'm fine. I could be crying. I'll be like, I'm fine. I could be a static, I'm fine. I could be angry, I'm fine. I could be scared. I'm fine. One of the first steps for me was saying how I truly felt in that moment. So if someone said, How are you? I would say, if I'm fine. I would say I'm fine. If I was happy to say my having a good day, if I wasn't having a bad day. I'm like, I'm not having the best day. How are you? You know, just honoring how I truly felt, not sidestepping it not saying I'm not going to honor that. And like putting up someone else's feelings above my own. A lot of times we put this emphasis or this pressure, and I was like, well, how's this other person's gonna react? I think a lot of people are like that, too. But I think we are missing really authentic connections by just saying like, this is just giving don't hold out those blanket statements. Now sometimes it's like, do you want to invest in everybody that's in your orbit? No, I definitely do not. I talk to too many people, most of the day, through my job, I'm not trying to connect and have like intimate connections with all those people, just not. But even still, I mean, you can still be honest about how you're feeling and then keep it moving. Please say know where you're coming from, they know where you're at. That's kind of how I look at it. And another thing that I also had to work through when it came to self compassion, it would is just like the loneliness, like there's this is a lonely process at times, because you're going to be sifting through so much, you're going to have to go through this alone. And you can have a partner, you could have a friend, and you could have those people in your life, you're gonna have your social support system, or you know, whomever you reach out to, to talk to and congregate with and things like that. And they'll be there. But there's some of this work is like, you're really going to have to sit with yourself and really dig in, it can be isolating at times, because you're changing. But at the same time you're existing in the world, and your friends still see you the same, but you don't feel the same. So there's going to be like this feeling of be feeling alienated. I know, for the longest time I couldn't talk to my friends couldn't talk to my best friend. We went to California when I first got sober. And I was just like, we couldn't really talk to each other. Because I was just I felt so different. I felt like our relationship was different. I probably in hindsight, maybe, maybe we should have went away together. But you know, it happened. But I was just in a different place. I was in a different mentality about things. And I didn't trust her truthfully, because I would just felt so vulnerable and on edge and had nothing to do with her and how to be how to do so much with what was going on inside me and me not understanding and having the vocabulary to articulate what was going on inside me. So that's some of that stuff may happen. Just know that it will pass. It's just something that's just to note in the book. She goes into detail and goes into specifics about this. I'm going to link of course to the book and actually I think I'm going to do a giveaway on this because I think I like to give this book I think I've gifted it out like two or three times already. Just Because it's just meant so much to me. But there's stuff like that, that you have to take into account. She goes into like mindfulness and just like how how we talk to each other, how we look at each other, how we, how we look at ourselves, things like that, like having a practice around that, which is another thing that your girl was not into. Because I was like, I don't I need to be in reality, I need to be in specifics like this is not for me, and, and what else I mean, I feel like this book is just so amazing. It talks about I mean, I love anything that kind of talks about the brain and the chemistry, but not just that, but also the brain, and feelings and emotions and how you're relating to other people. So if you're single, they'll speak to you, if you're a parent, it will speak to you, if you're in a romantic relationship, it will speak to you I actually have to revisit the romantic relationship part, because at the time when I was first reading it, and I go back, and I check in and read the book from time to time. So this is like a book that I kind of used as a reference or as a guide. But I was in a serious relationship at the time when I first read it. And now that I am, I'm assuming it's more on the serious side. It is I'm just joking. But I, I'm going to revisit it and make sure to keep pulling like some of those elements into how we relate. I didn't really read so much of the parent section, because I'm not a parent, but if you are, there's stuff for you there. And it talks about understanding the differences between like self esteem, what's good and what's bad when it comes to self esteem, because like self esteem is a tipping point where you can kind of like fall into like narcissism and all this other type of stuff. It was just like no life or it's like this is something that just kind of just gave me so many words, understandings about myself understanding about the relationships, I've had understandings about me and how I relate to other people. And just being able to articulate the types of things that makes sense for me. And that's very simple way. Because sometimes I feel like you read these books and like, I like a heavy read sometimes, like I like to get into it. Like I'm like, do I know this word? Let me look, highlight, let me look it up, so I can throw it and start using it. I love stuff like that, right? But this is a very straightforward read, in my opinion. And it's very practical, because sometimes I feel like some of the stuff can get so like heavy and you're like ha You know, this is a very practical and it has like little exercises you can do. That's your choice. If you want to participate in those. I personally did them. And I think they were very beneficial just because it helped me cope connect the dots to a lot of things that were happening my present day with my past. But that's something that will take more time, of course, compared to if you just read the book straight through, it's really open. And it really talks about learning to love ourselves with where we are who we are with no qualms. No, if ands No buts statements, things like that, and being able to let go of the fear of failure, opening up ourselves to just like life and what life has to offer at any stage of our life. Like this isn't for people that are just starting out in the world. This isn't for people that are retired, this is for anyone at any stage in their life. And I think that is what makes it so great. Because anyone can really take this book and apply these learnings if you're open to it. And like I said, I learned so much about myself when it comes to self compassion. But I also learned how to be more compassionate to other people. It really changed how I showed up for my friends, understanding their boundaries, asking them how they are doing before I decide to like unload and unleash Mike my fervor upon them. If I'm having a bad day, it's like, you know, it's stuff like that the little things that really make you understand human connection with yourself with other people. And just it really makes things I feel for me like more rich and more organic and more intimate. And I like one of the things that she has, she has some quotes and stuff in there that she utilizes one of my favorites. And I'm going to end with this. It's just something that you could use as like a mantra or write it down because I know I had a whole book whole pages in my like so many pages of my journal was just me writing this phrase over and over and over again. And if you don't journal, I highly recommend that you do but it is May I be safe. May I be peaceful? May I be healthy? May I live with ease. And I'll say it again. May I be safe. May I be peaceful? May I be healthy? May I live with ease. And I loved it simple to the point not heading. And I love like May I live with ease because I feel like in so much when it comes to so much of life. So many of us lived with such tension and uncertainty and trepidation and fear. And it's like to say like, I want to be able to show up in this live with ease. I just want to be able to flow through this be like water has to breathe, as Bruce Lee would say who I maybe even want to talk about him on the show because he Oh my god, the stuff that he was talking about nuts in a great way. Let me not go into another tangent. I just love that phrase. It was something that brought me so much peace and like calmness. When I first read it and that's why I ended up spending so many times just writing that as I was working through some of the exercises, I would just write that out over and over again, to kind of help jumpstart my thoughts. So yeah, I love this book. I think it's so amazing, so beneficial. Let me know if you've read it. Let me know what you think about it. If If you have read it, I highly recommend it. I'm gonna put the link and like I said, I will probably run some type of giveaway and give away a few copies of this book because like I said, it's been so beneficial for me so please stay tuned. Look, check out the post on my Instagram or on my mailing list and get yourself a free copy. Until next time, if this episode resonated with you in any way, please share it out with your network and your friends. Please leave me a review on any podcast streaming platform there is it always helps when it comes to getting the word out. And until next time, my dear friends, take care. Have a great and lovely day. Talk soon. Bye