So often the natural cycle of life creates change and loss. Other times we choose to make a transition. Both circumstances create a point of choice – acceptance or resistance to the change.
Many people who come to me for coaching are in transition. Sometimes these are overt and self-directed, for example you want to get another job, while others are subtler and you may only have a sense, in a deep and sometimes unfamiliar place of knowing, that something has got to change.
The obvious transitions can be straightforward and all that’s required is identifying some specific steps to be taken. The latter and more obscure feelings of an impending need to change can initially send us scurrying for the low-hanging fruit – e.g. I’m not sure what is wrong but I think I need to…
- exercise and lose weight
- get a new job
- get more sleep
And then in a coaching partnership the questions would begin:
- Why is this coming up for you now?
- What would that give you?
- What would you have to give up to have this?
- What would you rather have instead?
Most of us will quickly become aware that it’s not the low hanging fruit but something much deeper that is calling for attention.
Shhhhhh…be quiet – you’ll have to listen
Some of us will distract ourselves from this call for attention and there are many ways to do that: work longer hours, have another drink, spend money on some more stuff. But as someone once told me,
‘When the pain becomes great enough, you will change.’
And that’s when some of you will get into relationship with yourself, listen and act. A coach partners with you to do that.
During this time of creating greater awareness through coaching it’s important to exercise self-care. Opening up can be exciting but it can also leave us feeling a bit exposed and vulnerable. Self-compassion is a powerful and intuitive way to care for yourself when change if afoot.
Today I am practicing self-compassion and acceptance. My second son is leaving the country indefinitely. I will miss him and I am happy for him. I am also sad for myself and for what I will lose. Simply said, I will lose his company — his physical presence. I will talk with him and chat with him – virtually, but I will not cook for him or hold his hand.
And already the voices are telling me to get a grip, to pull my socks up, to get on with it and to stop being a sook. But I’m trying not to listen.
I will speak to myself as I would a dear friend.
With self-compassion I will practice acknowledging and integrating the loss and the change. In a word I will grieve.
Creating the time to grieve is an act of self-compassion and necessary to move forward. I’ll have to go into the cave or the belly of the whale for a while. That’s where the healing is. For me it means taking the time and creating the space to incorporate this new reality, and giving myself permission to be a vulnerable and afraid for a while.
Kristen Neff PhD is a wonderful resource on self-compassion. If you could benefit from befriending and supporting yourself during a time of change, check her out at http://self-compassion.org/ or contact me about the support having a personal coach can provide.