Written by: Ilham N Musayev, Senior Level Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
There are a lot of conversations being made and articles published on mental health and psychological safety these days. And it is important that they happen. I referred to these topics with some articles last year via Brainz Magazine.
However, there are rare articles, awareness sessions and conversations happen about Self-Kindness. This is far such an important subject these days and the more we talk about it perhaps we can save a lot of people from stress, depression, and even from suicide.
I have first paid attention to this subject in my Personal Agility journey, which I joined back in 2021 with Personal Agility Institute. There are 5 elements which create the backbone of the in Personal Agility System: Purpose, Celebration, Choice, Emergence and [Self] Kindness.
Let’s now get focus into the Self Kindness and learn why it is so important.
Self-compassion (or self-kindness) comes from Buddhist psychology and is not the same as self-esteem or self-confidence. Instead of a way of thinking about yourself, it is a way of being or a way of treating yourself.
According to Dr. Kristin Neff, a psychology professor at the University of Texas, self-compassion involves treating yourself just like you would treat your friends or family members even when they fail or screw up.
Almost all of us are not so kind to ourselves than to the people who surround us. We are usually unforgiving and too hard towards ourselves in our inner talk that constantly runs through our head. Imagine what happen if we spoke to other people in the same way…
There is a phrase that “we can’t really love others until we love ourselves”. This is more than just a feeling or attitude.
Self-kindness or self-compassion – whatever we choose to call it – is an important part of our wellbeing. And without it, it could be very difficult to build a genuine, vulnerable and meaningful connections with ourselves, as well as with others.
Without self-kindness we can gradually earn unrecognised cause of stress. It is one of the essential requirements for us to survive without building tough and super high-level standards [perfectionism], which we are striving eternally achieve.
Having self-compassion means being able to relate to yourself in a way that’s forgiving, accepting, and loving when situations might be less than optimal. We know that it’s similar to self-love and that it’s distinct from self-esteem, but how do we show self-compassion?
Very frequently we compromise our boundaries in order to please others or to help them feel more comfortable. We frequently say ‘yes’ when we want to offer ‘no’. There are times when we change plans that we really wanted to work out, in order to suit someone else. Sometimes we might spend time around people who are negative to us, even though we don’t want to.
When we’re tired, we’re allowed to rest. We might have great weekend plans to stay in our countryside place and watch TV, and we’re allowed to do so – even if someone invites us to go out. If there is someone in our life who exhausts us, we’re allowed to spend less time with them. We don’t have to work more hours than we’re paid to work, even if our colleague asks us very nicely.
Kristen Neff, PhD, referred above, developed the definition of self-compassion most researchers use. According to this definition self-compassion consists of three elements:
So, basically, you’re not showing yourself self-compassion if you’re not practicing these three things.
Let’s quickly get into meaning of those elements:
Self-kindness is exactly what it sounds like: being kind to yourself. It also means treating ourselves with kindness, considering our own needs.
Common humanity means recognizing that suffering and personal inadequacy are part of the shared human experience. We can also relate to this element as recognizing that experiences we are going through are a normal part of being human.
Mindfulness refers to entering a nonjudgmental state of mind that’s open to all kinds of feelings. Or it also means being aware of the physical, emotional, or mental pain of the moment.
By accepting our inner experiences, fostering kindness towards ourselves, and sharing our suffering, we are more likely to keep a growth mindset and learn through difficult experiences. Self-compassion promotes psychological strength during difficult times, better preparing us for future challenges.
It is not so easy to start practicing self-compassion in one go. It takes practice to feel comfortable doing something new. Be flexible as you develop self-compassion. Always start small.
I think for this conversation I am not going to overload readers with more information.
Just wanted to stress out some points: “Like most medical antidepressants, kindness stimulates the production of serotonin. This magic and feel-good chemical heals your wounds, calms you down, and makes you happy!” (https://www.ctrealtors.com).
“We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery, we need humanity; more than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent, and all will be lost.”― Charlie Chaplin
Ilham N Musayev, Senior Level Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Ilham N Musayev, is a mentor and coach (outside of the company his works for) who helps people to unlock their potential in career and personal development. He also helps in area of personal effectiveness, setting realistic goals and becoming organized and structured.
Ilham also helps to re-gain the [lost] confidence and look to issues and problems from a different perspective. Another area of his support is helping to cultivate servant leadership via coaching and mentoring technics.
Overall, he is an energy sector professional with 24 years of practical experience obtained by working in one of the leader companies in this sector. Ilham’s experience is very multilayered. He worked and gained his experience from following functions: Wells, PSCM, Operations, Global Projects by mainly providing project controls support.
For the last three years he worked in Modernization and Transformation and Agile Design Teams and helped his company to transform to new ways of working. He currently is a part of Agility team and as an agile coach supports the company by implementing agile ways of working.
Ilham holds following professional certifications and accreditations: Professional Certified Group & Team Coach | ICF-ACC | ICF Member | PARA | PARP | PSM II | PAL I | PSPO I | PMP® | ICAgile ICP-ACC/ATF | MSc. PM | EMBA.
Ilham’s position is that staying open for support, serving people as a leader, and helping people to grow is what wins heart and minds and is the only answer to all questions.
His mission: “Aspire to inspire, before we expire”.