(By Mimi Nicklin)

“…the most fundamental harm we can do to ourselves is not having the courage & respect to look at ourselves honestly” Pema Chodron, Author.

In recent months, the need to balance empathy for ourselves with empathy for others has moved to a whole new level

With so many changes – to every single area of our lives – its been easy to allow ourselves to wander towards anxiety or loneliness as we sit alone with the third series of Ozark. But, stop, there is another way.

The wonderful thing about practising self-empathy at this time is that it is 100% connected to building a growth mindset. To growing ourselves beyond our environment and at times even, in spite of it.

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Self-empathy is the key to creating a mindset that allows us to focus on the future, on what we want and where we are going. On truly understanding ourselves and what makes us grow, smile and thrive, as we simultaneously attempt to comprehend the swirl of the world around us.

Ask yourself: What do you want, what you are good at, what encourages you to grow and to be great?

Being curious about all these things and about how we respond, feel or react to the world is an incredibly powerful tool for our growth as people, as team-mates and as friends. By empathising with ourselves we remember that so many of our own feelings are also shared by others, that we are not alone and that these feelings are exactly what makes us totally and beautifully human.

“We are meant to feel things, and it is in the effort to understand what we are feeling that we can make real progress”

We are meant to feel things, and it is in the effort to understand what we are feeling that we can make real progress. Progress that goes beyond that which we don’t choose – a global pandemic and a locked down economy – and moves us to exactly where we need to be in order to choose what we truly do want.

During the Covid-19 crisis, the World Health Organisation data shows increasing anxiety levels. These realities aren’t going anywhere soon so there has never been a time when it has been more important to be more connected with ourselves.

When faced with uncertainty, a rampant rollercoaster of emotions is totally normal. Show yourself some compassion, give yourself some time and treat yourself with the same empathy that you offer others. It is in doing this that we can both connect with those around us, whilst protecting and nourishing ourselves to gain strength from the experience.

We are all doing the best we can to work through this ever-curving path of change, so next time you offer an encouraging smile to someone around you, offer yourself one too.

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Mimi Nicklin hosts Empathy for Breakfast, a weekly breakfast show, and a podcast, Secrets of the Gap. She is also a mom and an author, and you can pre-order her debut book, Softening the Edge here.