Self Compassion

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    I’ve posted here before as I suffer with work-based anxiety. I’m a teacher at a difficult secondary school.
    I have a deadline coming up at the end of July (this sounds like plenty of time but with various things here and there my time to get things done is significantly reduced). This is my first year of teaching but I am finding it hard to be self compassionate towards myself.
    I have worked all day but now I have stopped for the evening I am struggling to relax. While no-one has said it to me directly (one of my colleagues even helped me out today and set out a plan to help me meet my goals) I already feel like I have failed in achieving my deadline and in doing so have failed my students. I am struggling to see what I have already achieved and am feeling blindsided and anxious at the prospect of failing. I am leaving this post at the end of the summer so all of the work needs to be completed. I am finding it difficult to be kind towards myself as I feel that if I had worked harder or in a different way I would not be faced with such a huge workload now.
    How can I move past my idea that self-compassion and giving myself a break is merely letting myself off the hook and detracting from the reality that I am really not very good at what I do? Again, no-one has said this to me but it is a constant and nagging belief in my mind.
    Thank you

    A. E.

    The first thing that occurred to me when I read this is that safety guideline they tell you on an airplane.. you need to put your own oxygen mask on before assisting someone else. I struggle with these same feelings that you are describing. Try to remind yourself that “letting yourself off the hook” is a necessary exercise in self-care. Without giving yourself a break at the end of a long day, or treating yourself to an hour of yoga (or some other activity you find energizing and calming), you will have trouble finding the balance and focus you need to attack your deadlines when you get back to work! Think of exercises in self-care, self-compassion, and self-love as putting on your own oxygen mask. When you are taking care of your own needs, you will feel more confident (instead of anxious) and you will have more focused energy you can use to attack the tasks on your To-Do list, one at a time.

    Don’t let fear paralyze you (fear of letting down your students, fear of failing, fear of uncontrollable things coming up that prevent you from meeting your deadline, etc.) When you start worrying, take a moment to reflect on your thoughts (without judgment) and notice which of those thoughts are really just fears. Just recognize the fear, and try and replace that thought with something more constructive. For example, instead of telling yourself “I’m anxious that I will fail to meet this deadline and let down my students” notice what you’re really feeling: “I care a lot about my students, and take pride in my work – this is why I want to do a good job.” You are obviously passionate about your work – or you wouldn’t be so worried about it! Hold on to this thought, and let your fears of failing go – ain’t nobody got time for that!!


    This is my first year of teaching but I am finding it hard to be self compassionate towards myself.

    I’m an ex teacher and I can tell you my first year was a nightmare. Give yourself a break. Sounds like you are setting yourself very high standards. Chill!

    Big blue

    Hi Ayame,

    As this problem is important to solve, and there is a time limit, plus you are breaking new ground, it seems clear that you need to focus. This means cut back on the here and there time demands. Or, maybe dedicate some quality time blocks. Sometimes I work an evening or on the weekend.

    About that focus, I’m starting a new job soon, so I am cutting back on my personal development time, knowing I’ll either be tired after full days with everything being new at work, or I’ll need some extra hours to ramp up.

    Taking a break on a regular basis will help you to manage the stress. Do you have a regular exercise program? Maybe take a a Spin class. That will clear your mind and give you more energy.

    One other thought comes to mind about you. You might revisit why you got into teaching – this can motivate you to succeed faster and better!

    Big blue

    • This reply was modified 9 years, 11 months ago by Big blue.

    I always put the needs and happiness of others before my very own. Focusing in on my own problems depresses me and I usually wait until the bottom drops out. Even then, my health issues or burdens do not receive the focus or attention I need to give them. I am in a cycle like a ferris wheel and do not know how to shut it off.

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