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Being kind to yourself


23 August 2019

Being kind to yourself

Being kind to yourself

As you grow older you simply can’t escape knowing stuff that helps you in life. I’m no psychologist but lately I’ve been thinking more and more about the power of self-compassion and what that means for your life.

The blight of anxiety and perfectionism in our lives continues to undermine our perception of self and therefore our esteem. Our campus leadership team continue to explore ideas about how to develop strength in identity and positive wellbeing for our students. Each day we deal with young people whose sense of worth and identity are vulnerable. Inaccurate perceptions of expectations of peers and family, the negativity or perceived threat that social media poses are clearly influencing their choices and ways of behaving - and as we all know not always in a helpful way.

The constant comparison of yourself against others is key to feeding the self-esteem monster and developing the inner voice of vulnerability. I remember asking big questions of myself as my career started to take shape. Why didn’t I get that promotion? Why can’t I be as confident as that person? Why is it that it comes so easy to them, but I have to work so hard?

All reasonable questions but asked through a negative lens of comparison. I certainly talked myself down for having seemingly, at times, FAILED! When that happened a little part of me would harden up or go to the auto judgement response part of my brain for future excuse use!

Over recent years I have reflected more on the importance of self-compassion. Or as I like to think “the ability to like yourself without being a narcissist or egomaniac”. Being kind to yourself and challenging the negative mindset of self-criticism is difficult but... it takes at least 18 days to create a new habit. That is not such a hard thing to do. 

We naturally try to alleviate the suffering of others and desire to find ways to help them out especially with family and friends. Why then do we find it so hard to offer ourselves the same level of care and concern and positive action? There is a plethora of research about the “why?” yet for me it’s about the “how?”

When I meet with students, I unpack the ways in which they can be genuinely kind to themselves. To nurture their strengths, to understand their heart of gold is worth growing and giving themselves permission to use their best qualities to shape their next steps. I work with them to explore the idea that if at first it feels like a sham or selfish then “fake it till you make it!” Create the habits in your life that serve you well.

The experience of Scotch as reflected in this week’s Enews is that we work with individuals, teams, cohorts and community across a multitude of opportunities to develop our student’s life skills. But I would contend that if we don’t actually nurture their self-belief and compassion then their best self cannot thrive in any of these experiences. I think it worth your while to consider the value of nurturing self-compassion in your own life and the lives of others and challenge the demon of self-esteem.

The weather is fabulous and the Intercol against Pulteney is going well. I look forward to the Winter Sports Presentation Dinners on Saturday night. It’s been a great term thus far and may the second half be as fulfilling as the first!


Congratulations to Tom and Sol, who recently achieved second place in the Digital Technologies Hub Arcade Game co