Our last blogs have explored empathy, kindness, compassion and connection both with ourselves and others. We could all do with more love and appreciation at this time, so I wanted to share giving ourselves the gift of love and appreciation using my favourite self compassion tool - The ABC practice. I have shared the ABC (Acknowledge/Breathe/Connect) formula or practice several times. I wanted to share it again to remind myself and maybe you too, to love and appreciate yourselves!
So a summary of the ABC Formula is...........
A - Acknowledge and Accept
Kindly acknowledging and accepting feelings with curiosity (remember curiosity is a form of compassion)
The task master voice........
1. Suppressing or bypassing - Ignoring the feeling with things like.........
- 'I should not feel sad/disappointed/unappreciated... and sorry for myself
- I should be grateful and think of others
- At Least .......It could be worse .......Yer, but!
2. Catastrophizing the situation with blame, judgement and criticism of self and others
These reactions leave no room for understanding, empathy and connection
INSTEAD - be empathic toward the sad/dissappointed/angy you are feeing
B - Breathe (space bar)
Create some space accept and connect with values, love and who you want to be
C - Connection - with your wise empathic kind encouraging friend.
Connect with wisdom to give yourself what you need need (which is always love)
A quote from Kim McMillan I think expresses this perfectly - 'When I loved myself enough, I learned to ask 'who in me is feeling this way?' when I feel anxious, angry, restless or sad (or unappreciated and unloved!). If I listen patiently I discover who needs my love"
This ABC practice allows me to develop self -compassion, to acknowledge and accept my feelings instead of bypassing them and to connect with my wise self for the understanding, appreciation, support and love that I need.
I have had a few reminders to appreciate myself to avoid feeding the resentment of expecting it from others these past weeks.
The word appreciate has many dictionary definitions. The ones I like most are 'to raise the value of something or someone' and 'to be grateful for something or someone'. Appreciation synonyms include admired, respect, valuing, treasuring and esteem. So, when we appreciate something or someone, including ourselves, we raise it up, treasure and respect it. We hold it in esteem with gratitude.
So, a recent example for me included receiving a series of texts from a friend requesting me to do some things for them. These texts could have been seen as somewhat demanding with a lack of appreciation and I was so tempted to go there!. Fortunately, I was aware that I did not want to build up resentment by bypassing my feelings or blaming and criticising either. So after doing what was asked of me and not receiving appreciation I applied my ABC formula to the feeling of unappreciated.
1. Acknowledged and Accepted the 'unappreciated' feeling
This empathy and pause allow for connection and self-compassionate action.
With my wise encouraging self to provide the love and appreciation that appeared to have gone missing!
So I connected and Kindly ask ....What do I need? (to be of benefit)
I need to give myself what appears to have gone missing - the love and appreciation for doing what was asked.
So, yet again I tuned into and turned up that kind friendly, voice and gave myself the 'love that appeared to go missing' in the form of kind, encouraging and appreciative words..........
'Good on you M, it was kind and generous of you to do that for them. Well done'.
BINGO - Feeling loved and appreciated with no resentment!
This kind talk meant I could get on with what I needed to do! By connecting with myself to give myself what is needed allows for connection with others and to continue to be there for them too. And then as if by magic a 'thank you" text arrived. Affirmation is one of the ways we can give ourselves the love that appears to have gone mission. We will explore some other ways in upcoming blogs.
Over the years I have made reminders to myself and others to 'feel loved and appreciated and to love and appreciate themselves as wel'l. The latest is our cotton washcloths!. Other reminders have included my apron embroidered with the words 'loved and appreciated' - I don't think anyone in the family has noticed, but whats important is that it reminds me . This is especially important when lots of care in meal preparation receives no thanks or even a bad review! I can still appreciate myself for my kindness and effort, which helps prevent resentment and maintains connection. I have also written 'feel loved and appreciated' on the mirror in the toilet and on the concrete footpath outside our house!
Remember to love and appreciate yourself for all your efforts, no matter how seemingly small, to be an appreciative, uplifting, kind, encouraging, friendly force in the world. Remember a smile counts heaps. And remember to appreciate others too. As the quote above says 'Being told you are appreciated is one of the simplest and most uplifting things you can hear'! And if you would like your free washcloth reminder please email us your postal address here.
With love, appreciation and very best well wishes to us all