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How to practice self compassion

Discussion in 'Alan Gordon TMS Recovery Program' started by jokeysmurf, May 10, 2018.

  1. jokeysmurf

    jokeysmurf Well known member

    I had a realization through doing this Pain Recovery Program and the SED. I haven't been very compassionate to myself. I listened to the audio clips of the man who treated others with compassion but not himself. That's me.

    After grad school is when I started to be this way. I felt so much was riding on being a good writer of poetry that I was unconsciously comparing myself to other poets. Many of them great classic poets. There is a fine line between admiration and comparison/criticism.

    I have a hard time accepting compliments. I feel shame if someone tells me something is good. It feels as though i have reached my limit and that what I produced is automatically crap. Why? I don't really know for sure. I know deep down inside I like it when people like what I do. So why do I automatically squash the feeling that comes with a compliment? I think fear that this is resting on laurels or that I will become complacent.

    My body feels tight when I write poetry. I can sense it's telling me it doesnt like the pressure and criticism. Since a lot of the time it's not a conscious effort. It has been difficult to know how to approach this.

    Any suggestions? The first step I took which did help was Im not going to treat myself this way. Beyond that Im not very sure.
    Mari and Lizzy like this.
  2. Lizzy

    Lizzy Well known member

    Is a part of you afraid your poetry isn't good enough, so you deflect compliments, but another part of you hopes and that part enjoys the compliments? I'm thinking you're being very hard on yourself and any good writing might be rejected because of this. Conflict fuels tms. Both parts need acceptance. Just food for thought, only you can explore and figure it out ☺️
  3. jokeysmurf

    jokeysmurf Well known member

    Yes absolutely. It's that simple but also complicated for too many reasons. If a compliment comes from a person who doesn't write I suppose it doesn't bother me. However being around other writers I do appreciate a compliment from them. Already a predicament which keeps flip flopping.

    One time a student gave me a compliment and he went on and on about how much he appreciates this or that and so on. It ruined about 3 days for me. I suppose I felt like a fraud or maybe some shame that being naive is what gave him this perception. Either way I just couldn't accept his praise. I didn't sleep well for those three nights.

    I have this fear that all I will ever be is a community college teacher for poetry and that my dreams as child of being a writer are somehow being squashed by academia. I don't think this is true at all but it's a bit difficult to explain. But I do think academia can be a sort of a bubble and we can lose perspective of where we are. Maybe part of it is fear of losing perspective if I allow myself to accept and worse, enjoy a compliment?

    When I was in school nothing felt worthwhile doing unless it was challenging. I'm almost 10 years out of grad school and I keep trying to make things more difficult than they need to be. Spinning ones wheels isn't a good challenge or useful difficulty.

    So yeah, I'm hard on myself. I never wanted people to think I was a "loser" or uneducated or somehow less than.

    I'm grew up extremly poor. Education was the only thing I had going for me. I hardly fit in. College was fantastic and I was treated very fair. Not so much in grad school. I was on scholarship to an elite private school. No one knew I was on aid. I was naive about the whole thing really. That's really when lots of doubt and first bouts of back pain really started. Trying to live up to this full ride scholarship I had been given. At times from certain profs who knew I was on aid, they almost rubbed my nose in it as a way to get me to be a certain way.

    In the end I lost my scholarship and took out loans. I felt liberated and yet very afraid and uncertain about my future without that monetary safety net.

    I'd like to learn to let this all go.
    I feel I am being as unrelenting to myself as some of those profs were.

    I agree with you, I'm just not that good at self compassion...yet
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  4. Lizzy

    Lizzy Well known member


    First, I think your response to my post helps in your journey. You said a lot.

    Second, reading your post was sureal. I'll try to explain. My family of origin is full of academics. Graduates of Stanford, MIT, Airforce Academy, University of Washington, University of Oregon, Pepperdine and others. They are heads of departments, physics professors, chemists, etc. and teach at those and other schools. Wonderful people, but believe educated people are a better class, not to be mixed with the masses. The women in my family all work, going back generations. Along comes me. From the time I was a little girl I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. I don't remember how old I was when I stopped saying that, as it was unacceptable. What I remember is spinning tales at family dinners about my lofty plans. In high school I had a secret boyfriend and shortly after graduation I announced I was getting married. He was in construction and none of his family were college graduates. You can probably imagine.

    We've been happily married 32 years. Fortunately they really like and even admire my husband, even if they can't understand our situation. We have two adult children, one is a college graduate and they are both married to college graduates.

    When I read your post it was like reading my experience in a mirror, except everything was backwards. I've never thought about that disconnect I had about myself and my persona. That went on for years. I guess the conflict has actually continued, as cousins, nieces and nephews have married, I have had internal dialogues with myself justifying my choices.

    Lol, this is more a journal entry than a response. I thank you for opening my eyes to explore this. I'm a little stunned by how we can ignore parts of our history that maybe hold much of our TMS mystery. Huh.

    Last edited: May 11, 2018
    plum likes this.
  5. Lainey

    Lainey Well known member

    Lizzy and jokeysmurf, You both bring up great stuff .

    I grew up with a working class dad and a stay- at-home mom who wanted to be only in the best neighborhoods and the most prestigious women's organizations. We lived in a house that was way beyond what most people would have considered if they were in our financial situation, but they made it work. I went to schools where nearly all the other children around me had parents who were well-educated, professionals, diplomats, etc. I knew my father's work was not of the calibre of the other dads. I was embarrassed by this.

    Going to college was not really considered by my family, but I grew up with these other children who knew that college was their mainstay. I did end up eventually completing college, in my early thirties, and went on to get a graduate degree. That time period, where I was actively pursuing my education, was very difficult for me physically. I developed all sorts of symptoms, IBS, lower back pain, sciatica, but did not think about it as a result of my obvious 'rebellion' from the family norm. Yet, I knew that I was going against the grain but just thought I was sick. I did eventually put two and two together, but my TMS personality had a grip on me by then.

    So, I too had a disconnect. I have friends who are from families like yours, Lizzy, and am always intrigued by them. They know they are 'privileged' but their norm is the life of an academian/professional. I also get jokeysmurf in that I never wanted people to think (know) I was 'less than' they were.
    Thus, I play a balancing act with my own life, I suppose

    It's all surreal, really, many people do put themselves in a bubble and proceed as if it will never break. I think all of your musings are so on point.
    Thanks for posting this.
    Lizzy and plum like this.

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