I discussed self-compassion and the importance and benefits of practicing self-compassion when you’re experiencing infertility in a previous blog. The question is how do you start practicing self-compassion when you feel such a wide range of negative emotions? In my office, practicing self-compassion is one of the most powerful and transformative tools I offer clients, not only to shift to a more positive mindset but also to sustain their transformations. In this blog, I offer 7 steps to help you practice self-compassion.
Understanding the Connection Between Infertility and Practicing Self-Compassion
If you are experiencing infertility, there are a few different ways you can start a self-compassion practice. Based on my work with clients, I believe it is better to start from where you are at now with an idea of where you want to be. Women who experience infertility often feel “broken” or damaged”. The journey to conception entails many challenges, both emotional and physical, and it is common to feel as if you are at your wits’ end.
Below are 7 steps towards starting your practice of self-compassion.
7 Steps To Practicing Self-Compassion on Your Conception Journey
Step #1: Start by Eliciting Awareness
Women who experience infertility often numb their feelings and emotion in an attempt to detach from negative outcomes or, alternatively, can be “too hopeful” that something positive will happen.
As a first step, I encourage you to just notice how you feel. Do it as an observer. Treat it like detective work:
- What kind of thoughts are running through my head?
- What feelings and emotions am I experiencing?
- What triggers me to shut off or open up?
By doing this, you will have a better understanding of what area you’d like to attend to first and what type of shifts needs to take place.
Step #2: Acknowledge All Your Feelings
When experiencing infertility, women often deny or block some of their thoughts, feelings and emotions.
- Give yourself permission to feel all the feelings on the spectrum.
- Acknowledge your journey, the challenges and the wins, and use step #1 to observe them.
Step #3: Use Words and Actions That Resonate with You
Women who experience infertility often use negative self-talk and criticism.
- Select natural (or positive) words to start shifting away from negativity. Use words that resonate with you.
- For example, when we are going through a medical process like IUI and IVF, we can cheat ourselves into believing that this process is fantastic, while we use words like “bearable” to describe it. Perhaps instead you could describe your powers and tell yourself, “My body is strong and can go through this”.
- Any natural or positive description is more beneficial than a negative one.
Often, it is easy to start with natural words/descriptions and with time, move towards words and descriptions that are more positive.
Step #4: Treat Yourself Like A Friend
Imagine you are supporting a friend who is experiencing infertility. Your friend talks to you about what they are going through. Your friend is experiencing all sorts of negative thoughts, feelings, and emotions and is seeking support.
- How will you support your friend?
- What would you say?
- What would you do?
- What kind of support will you offer your friend?
Now imagine that you are this friend, and also the person they are seeking support from.
- How can you support yourself?
You have probably heard this advice before, but it works.
Step #5: Dedicate A Few Minutes to Nurturing Yourself Every Day
Experiencing infertility and trying to conceive, you probably find yourself focusing on results and too often forget to take care of yourself.
- Start with a simple act of care and allow yourself to immerse yourself in it.
- It can be something like listening to a funny podcast, taking a quiet walk in nature, having a girls’ night once every so often, enjoying a romantic dinner with your partner, or anything else that relaxes your thoughts and brings you pleasure.
This act of care will activate your “rest and digest” and “tend and befriend” systems and allow you to release stress, refresh, and re-energize.
Step #6: Take A Journal on Your Self-Compassion Journey
Often when we are over-focusing on a goal or a state of mind, as we can easily do with infertility and trying to conceive, we forget to remember our wins.
Writing a gratitude journal, or a journal to remind yourself of your journey and what you have been through, will give you another perspective on the road you’ve travelled.
In your journal, you can write down a non-judgmental statement about your journey, yourself, your partner, and life in general. You can read here to discover how and what type of things you can write about. After a month or so of writing in your journal you can look back in it and acknowledge your journey. You can also learn from it and begin to plan ahead.
Step #7: Notice What You Have Learned on Your Journey to Conception
- There is always something to learn – even from our darkest moments.
- Take time to acknowledge what you’ve learned while experiencing infertility.
- Learning can be through planning, growth or adaptation, new insights, etc.
- You might have learned how strong you are, how dedicated and loving you are.
- Whatever your learnings are, write your learnings down and remind yourself of them.
- Write down the lessons, and encourage yourself to learn from your lessons as well.
Now you’ve learned more about how to practice self-compassion when you’re experiencing infertility and the seven steps that will make your journey easier and more joy-filled.
Miri supports her clients who are on their journey to conception online and in her office in Vancouver, BC. She incorporates the practice of self-compassion with all her clients to help them make sustainable shifts in their lives. Miri notices an accelerated shift and improvement for those who continue to practice self-compassion. They feel empowered in many aspects of their lives and improve their overall well-being.
For more information and to contact Miri Malkin @ Miri Malkin Hypnosis For Top Performance click below.