On my YouTube channel I share advice, tools and lessons for things like ADHD, depression, anxiety and greater happiness, purpose and joy. That’s a long list, but one I feel is desperately needed in society. Self compassion is at the root of many issues in our world, so I’ll be including that in a lot of what I do in the years to come. For the moment, let me show you why I know my stuff here, why you should trust what I say as the real-deal:

I Know Trauma and Despair

I’m on a mission to reach millions of people in the name of positive empowerment and education “outside the box” from a lot of what we hear in the mainstream media. For example, I speak about the dangers of misdiagnosing ADHD (which some passionately say doesn’t truly exist, psychiatrists and others included), I speak about what true success is, beyond the type of car you drive, house you live in – all that jazz, getting to the heart of inner worth, the heart of it all that we really aren’t taught nearly enough in this world…

I have also survived a suicide attempt, bounced back, committed myself 18 months later, bounced back again and have designed my life for success in all areas – finances, health, joy/happiness and in my career (I just signed my first book deal!). I lost my brother to suicide, have been on numerous psychiatric medications and am now med-free and thriving.

I know these internal struggles – I know exactly what battles are. I’ve lived through them, so I know the struggles that millions in this world face. We’re all human, after all. OK – enough about my past. Here are my points for you to take from this post and hold closely in your heart, your awareness:

Only You Can Decide to Be Gentle On Yourself

Self compassion is a term I wasn’t even aware of until well into my thirties. I was so fiercely driven to prove myself, to make up for past decisions that resulted in my own self-sabotage, a criminal record that prevented me from pursuing the career goals I had set for myself and other issues. I beat myself up day after day while on one hand being so determined, and on the other, being full of shame for those past mistakes, hungry to change my life forever.

In 2014 I first came to know “compassion-focused therapy” as a result of seeing a psychologist while going through some inner struggles around career and identity (really heavy stuff). It’s wild how deeply things are sometimes, so deep that we don’t even recognize the root causes for our behavior patterns in many cases.

It isn’t easy to look “into the abyss” too much. In fact, it can be downright exhausting and scary. However, I wouldn’t grow and become successful beyond my current level of understanding if I didn’t keep digging deeper. I see that now.

Who Do You Spend Time With?

Here’s a huge, huge piece of the equation. Even though it’s up to you and I to uncover our own customized way of learning and practicing self compassion, who we spend time with in life makes all the difference in our outlook, our mood and our sense of inspiration. I learned this the hard way (as many of us do), realizing along the way that I had to say goodbye to a couple people in my life for the sake of my future.

It is what it is – who you spend time with makes a huge impression on your mood and resulting decisions, like it or not. Once you buy into that, you’re more in control of the energy you allow around you. We must be compassionate to others, of course, but never forget that we have the right to choose better relationships in life. In fact, we must.

Self compassion may involve going back to childhood memories, examining them and seeing where trauma and hurt may have started feelings of perfectionism, the severe need to please others, and self-loathing (hating yourself or being very hard on yourself) among other potentially harmful patterns. I can tell you from personal experience that the work is so very worth it, so very necessary for deep thinkers and feelers alike, not to mention most of us in general.

I still need to remind myself to be gentle on myself very regularly, so please know that it’s a journey of growth, not some place you “arrive at.”

Take a few breaths, be kind to yourself and see each day as the opportunity for learning, baby step by baby step. Trying to rush things only ended up in my eventual suicide attempt. Don’t go down that road. Catch yourself in patterns, admit them and be proud that you’re learning, I say! That is true success, beyond the definition many of us were taught early on in life.

What are your thoughts on self compassion? Do you have any of your own advice to share here to help others? Leave a comment below!