Self-compassion trumps self-criticism

Abundance is the new mindset

April 1st, 2017:

I got into an argument with my wife. I was unhappy with the way she dealt a particular incident. This is how it unfolded:

She had planned to meet a friend in downtown, a 45-minute drive. I only found out the day before of such plans. I had other plans for myself. I needed to complete one more chapter of the book. I was behind my schedule.

The day before, we spent the latter half, with her extended family. I knew of those plans 3 weeks ahead and we had committed to it. It was now an obligation.

I usually take only one day off a week to refresh my mind and get ready for the forthcoming week. This week and weekend had been abnormal and was anxious to get on with it.

We spent 4 days in Las Vegas, where I completed an outline for the chapters, but it was very distracted work. I had to redo them this weekend.

But lo and behold, I find that one of us had made plans and it wasn’t me. Annoyed and reluctant, I showered and dressed, unwilling to let go of the fact that I was behind. It crept into my mind and stayed with my thoughts.

“But what about my book?” “You’re not taking your message seriously” “You are not working enough” “You need to focus”

It went on and on. I recognized the circular trajectory of my thoughts. Taking a deep breath, I broke the chain, forced myself to make peace with the situation, let my concerns be known to my wife and moved on.

On the drive, I spoke of our broken communication. She scheduled this event in her calendar 2 weeks ago, and I had known about it for 2 days. She apologized. She offered meeting her friend alone, but I had no place to work out of. We were 30 minutes from home in the opposite direction.

We made up before we arrived at the restaurant. This was only possible when I had made peace that broken communication happens and it’s a normal part of life.

This is where it gets interesting.

We arrived at the restaurant, Stuff I Eat, a few minutes before opening. While we waited, we met another customer who was as enthusiastic and eager as us to chow down their soul food. She owns a production management company, who has experience in TV, film, stage performances and self-empowerment and transformation workshop.

What was going to come out of this fortunate encounter, we will know later. But at that moment, as I was recounting the events of the day, I felt like it was meant to happen.

Instead of practicing the first principle of abundance, gratitude, my mind was fixed on the thought that I was off-schedule. I had work to do and I was “wasting” time. After the events, I was grateful for meeting an amazing person, Terrah Bennett Smith and Chef Babette Davis, who owns Stuff I Eat in Inglewood.

We often come across such situations. We are frustrated with our progress, we self-reproach. The instinctual self-critical side of our minds kicks in when we aren’t achieving our goals. In this self-critical mode, we ostracize ourselves for not completing tasks and we condemn our lack of discipline. The self-criticism will not be received well and our minds are deterred from making further progress. This is one of the main reasons most of quit our goals – when we are deterred and held back by our own self-criticisms.

Instead, I should have practiced compassion, rather self-compassion, the second principle of abundance. In self-compassion, I would have comforted myself with: “It’s okay, you have tomorrow to catch up!” And “Go with an open heart, you never know who you will run into!”

With the Mindset of Abundance, instead of closing off opportunities to meet people, to network, and to collaborate with, we are open to every event, to every person flowing through our lives. Without an open imagination and open heart, two important qualities of the Mindset of Abundance, we will not see opportunities where they are; we will instead sulk till we get tired of sulking; we will lose valuable time in the negative state of mind.

Think abundance!


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