I think I first discovered Creative Career Coach Laura Simms by way of Rachel Cole, (or rather my default when I can’t remember exactly is to blame every good thing on either Rachel or Andrea Scher). I immediately was drawn to Laura’s smile, her sense of humor, and quickly discovered that she is wise in the gentlest, clearest possible way. She is impossibly sharp and soft.
Meeting Laura for the first time at World Domination Summit two years ago went on my personal blooper list for that event. I ran into her during a break between sessions, went over and introduced myself, and proceeded to stand in front of her telling her how adorable she is for what felt like ten times in a row, and then not knowing what else to say, I just walked away. Luckily, I got a chance to redeem myself the next morning at breakfast, (although at the end of that meal, after sitting next to her and chatting like a totally normal person, I did follow her into the bathroom — I had to go too! — and tell her again as we stood at the sinks washing our hands how unbelievably adorable she is).
Laura didn’t hold it against me, and when my Dexter died, she was one of the people who sent me a note (real mail!) to tell me how sorry she was, (she’d lost her sweet bunny not too long before that). She is genuinely kind and compassionate, and it shows up in everything she does, whether a stunningly accurate blog post, silly Facebook status update, honest video, or through her work supporting clients in crafting purpose-driven careers — she is brilliant, both shiny and wise. I am so happy to share her perspective on self-compassion with you today.
1. What does self-compassion mean, what is it? How would you describe or define it?
I think self-compassion is kindness, gentleness, and acceptance. It’s love, empathy, tenderness.
2. How did you learn self-compassion? Did you have a teacher, a guide, a path, a resource, a book, a moment of clarity or specific experience?
Many, many books have helped me with self-compassion. The Dalai Lama has so many good books out, and I love The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.
There is a moment that sticks out most for me as a turning point, though. Maybe 4 or 5 years ago, I was feeling really down on myself about something, I don’t even remember what now. I was near tears, and my husband was comforting me.
“Seems like you’re being pretty hard on yourself,” he very gently said.
“Do you expect anyone else to live up to the standard that you’ve set for yourself?”
And I didn’t. I had set this impossibly high, unrealistic bar for myself that no one could consistently hit. That realization really changed how I judged myself.
3. How do you practice self-compassion, what does that experience look like for you?
Letting myself fail. Not having to be right all the time. Letting myself off the hook if I’ve tried my best and things didn’t come out like I wanted. A lot of it is forgiveness. I get to be a mortal. I don’t have to be better or stronger than other people. I get to just be a fallible, wonderful, person like everyone else. It means I’m not special, but in a good way.
4. What do you still need to learn, to know, to understand? What is missing from your practice of self-compassion, what do you still struggle with?
That sometimes I need to do stuff that I don’t feel like doing to truly take care of myself. Self-compassion is not just about me feeling good and getting what I want. In a way, it’s like me being a good parent to myself. Sometimes that means doing the exercise or cooking the meal when I don’t feel like it, because it’s really the best thing for me.
And, sometimes, I think I shouldn’t need things that I do. I shouldn’t NEED to take a break. I shouldn’t NEED to ask for help. But I do need them, and accepting those needs and getting them met instead of suppressing them feels like I’m honoring and taking care of myself.
I am so grateful to Laura, for taking the time to answer these questions, for making me smile, making me think, making me feel like the whole glorious mess is completely workable. To find out more about Laura, to connect with her:
- Visit her website
- Follow her on Facebook and Twitter
- Watch her videos on YouTube
- Follow her on Pinterest
- Buy one of her books
- Work with her to craft a purpose-driven career
Next on Self-Compassion Saturday: Kat McNally.
P.S. If you didn’t see the first post in this series, you might want to read Self-Compassion Saturday: The Beginning. Or make your way through all the posts tagged Self-Compassion Saturday.