There is a fine line between self compassion and making excuses. One builds your resilience while the other is a cop out that hides a deeper underlying issue. One gives us strength. The other drains our power and keeps us playing small.
Whether you are a corporate leader, an entrepreneur running your own business or a freelancer working from home; life is a full-on daily juggling act. Despite our best efforts, some balls get dropped along the way. Our immediate tendency is to beat ourselves up. Our inner critic tells us that we should have done better. That we weren’t good enough.
You could, at that point, have some self compassion. In most cases, that is what you should do. But there are times when you need to call yourself out for making excuses. So how do you know when to cut yourself some slack, and when to give yourself a swift kick up the butt?
Self compassion is about showing yourself the same kindness that you would extend to others. It’s a vital building block of resilience. When you are kind to yourself, you acknowledge that you’re not Wonder Woman (or Superman). In other words, you’re a mere mortal (sorry to break this to you) who is flawed. You tried your best and you’ll do better next time.
Making excuses, on the other hand, is about giving in to fear and self doubt. It’s about shifting blame to things you claim you can’t control, when indeed you can. For example, how you spend your time and on what priorities are within your control. When you allow yourself to get distracted, you’re squarely in the zone of making excuses. Until you address the underlying issues driving this, you’ll continue to self sabotage and hold yourself back.
You cannot realise your full potential if you’re constantly beating yourself down. That’s why self compassion is so important. Just be careful not to use that as your crutch.
The next time you’re hard on yourself, consider if that is a moment to show some self compassion, or if it’s really fear and self doubt that is the true underlying issue. If it’s the latter, go ahead and be hard on yourself.