Toolbox Tuesday Week 3: Self CompassionJanuary 24, 2023
Welcome back to Toolbox Tuesdays, a set of blog and social media posts shared in collaboration with BRCAStrong to delve into the minutiae of emotional tools or skills that patients can use as they navigate breast cancer diagnosis, treatment, and reconstruction. These tools are not universal: what works for one patient may not work for another. The key is to add as many to your toolbelt as you can and test them out to see what is most effective for you.
Over the past two weeks, we’ve introduced reframing and articulating your needs. Today, I would like to bring your attention to a topic that we do not often discuss: self-compassion. This skill is essential when handling any type of disruption or crisis. There is a tendency to feel as though you need to have all the answers or be in control at all times. In reality, that is neither true nor fair.
No matter how many proactive actions you take, you are bound to experience moments where you feel hopeless or overwhelmed. We are complex creatures. It is more than OK to have and acknowledge these feelings; it’s natural! The problem that arises is that guilt, helplessness, and anxiety can follow these emotions in absence of true self-acceptance. Self-judgment, unrealistic expectations, or the dreaded term, ‘should,’ can invade the mind. Practicing self-compassion is the key to preventing that invasion.
The next time you find yourself thinking about what you ‘should’ do or chastising yourself for normal, appropriate emotional responses to your circumstances, consider how you would speak to a peer. As your mind wanders, ask yourself: would I speak to a friend or fellow patient the way I am speaking to myself? What would I say to them instead? Note whether it is kinder, gentler, or more nurturing than your own, internal dialogue. Then, remind yourself that you deserve the same kindness! Extend that compassion to yourself.
Self-compassion is not always as simple as it seems. Individuals tend to be much more patient and kind with others in similar situations than they are with themselves. It is a practice that takes time to master, but it can be extremely helpful.
Toolbox Tuesday Week 2: Articulating Your Needs
Welcome back to Toolbox Tuesdays, a set of blog and social media posts shared in collaboration with BRCAStrong to delve into the minutiae of emotional…