Most people who have seen me in the last few years know how much I rely on self-compassion - in my own life and in my life as a clinician. I've seen so many amazing people struggle with never feeling good enough and self-compassion is the foundation I return to again and again.
This is wildly different than what our culture focuses on. The temptation is to try to simply argue back when the amazingcreativeintelligent person in front of us talks about how messed up they feel they are "No! You're great!" we want to say, and we can get caught in trying to bolster self-esteem by reassuring people of their greatness. But for most people on the receiving end of those well-intentioned reassurances, it doesn't do any good. They question it. And they wonder, "what will they think of me when they find out I'm not so great after all?"
That's where self-compassion comes in. It doesn't require us to be perfect, or great. It doesn't require us to hold up a mask and only show others the good parts. Instead, it focuses on making room for us to be human. Broken, imperfect humans who bungle things up sometimes. Self-compassion says "yes, you mess things up. You're in pain and struggle. And you deserve kindness in that."
For anyone working on self-compassion or interested in learning more about it, I've included some resources below, beginning with my upcoming group on shame resilience and self acceptance!
"Never Good Enough": Moving from Shame to Self-Acceptance
What if you turned toward yourself with kindness instead of judgment? What if instead of berating yourself for all the things you "should" be doing, you were able to appreciate all that you already do? This 8 week group provides the space for that journey.
I run this group twice a year and would love to tell you more about it so that you can consider registering! Just head on over here to get an overview and a week by week breakdown.
Self Compassion Exercises
Kristen Neff's "Self-Compassion Break" is absolutely my favorite go-to exercise to boost self-compassion on a daily basis. It only takes about 30 seconds and can make a huge difference to how we treat ourselves. The three steps are:
2. Common Humanity
and the full exercise in all of its wonderfulness can be found here.
Kristen Neff also has a number of other exercises and information on her website. I like "soften soothe allow" - though I'd love to hear what works for you the most!
Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life by Emily Nagoski
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is absolutely my favorite book for women related to sex and sexual desire. I first heard Emily Nagoski speak as a guest on Sex Nerd Sandra's podcast, and loved what she had to say in that episode. I feel like I learned a ton and it also left me wanting to know more. She spoke so clearly and knowledgeably that I was pretty excited to learn she'd also written a book, complete with worksheets to fill out.
Emily brings a really fresh perspective on desire styles and offers insights about female sexual desire specifically (unlike old models that were based on the average male desire style). I've found myself teaching others what I've learned from her about spontaneous vs responsive desire. She also teaches readers (in a really accessible and fun way) about the dual control model of sex, suggesting that if we want to feel like having sex more often, we need to focus on "turning on the ons and turning off the offs". At the same time, it never comes across as prescriptive or judgmental. She reminds readers every chapter or so that there's nothing wrong with your desire, and helps us understand what a huge role context plays in desire for women.
"Come as You Are" is great for folks who might like to have a more active sex life, but don't necessarily feel like having sex. It's great for women in relationships where their desire style is much different than their partners (higher or lower). It's great for women who've worried that there's something wrong with their desire. It's great for partners of these women. It's great for women in heterosexual relationships and queer relationships. And the list goes on.
I love love love this book! As a bonus, Emily Nagoski is a generally awesome person and speaker who really does come across as wanting to share what she's learned and help remind readers just how fantastic and normal they are. The audiobook is read by her and it's lovely to listen to.
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Nicole Perry is a Registered Psychologist and writer with a private practice in Edmonton. Her approach is collaborative and feminist at its heart. She specializes in healing
About the Blog
This space will provide information, stories, and answers to big questions about some of my favorite topics - boundaries, burnout, trauma, self compassion, and shame resilience - all from a feminist counselling perspective. It's also a space I'm exploring and refining new ideas.