Self-Compassion, Laziness, Or Self-Sabotage? Being The Right Kind of Good To Yourself When Your Child Struggles with Drugs or Alcohol, With Brenda Zane

Hopestream for parenting kids through drug use and addiction
Hopestream for parenting kids through drug use and addiction
Self-Compassion, Laziness, Or Self-Sabotage? Being The Right Kind of Good To Yourself When Your Child Struggles with Drugs or Alcohol, With Brenda Zane

If you're working on being a little more self-compassionate and practicing self-care, there may be times when you ask yourself, "am I just being lazy?" You might also find there are times when your so-called self-compassion might feel more like self-sabotage. SO confusing. You end up feeling guilty for not feeling guilty, or vice versa.

This episode will break down what self-compassion actually is, what it isn't, and importantly, how to tell the difference between healthy self-compassion and laziness or self-sabotage. There's even a simple litmus test I share that will let you look at your behavior and know right away what you're being to yourself.

It's a quick, snackable episode that's perfect for a quick dog walk or errand run so listen in and give yourself a break from feeling guilt – or not – when you're trying to take care of yourself.


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[00:00:00] Brenda: This can be a really vicious trap where you’ve finally gotten to a place where you’re practicing self compassion, you’re being kind and understanding to yourself, and then you start doubting that kindness and compassion as if it were a bad thing. 

Welcome to HopeStream. The podcast for parents of kids who are misusing drugs or alcohol, or who are in active addiction treatment or early recovery. I’m your host, Brenda Zane, fellow parent to a child who struggled. So I’m right there with you. If you’re enjoying the podcast and want to hang out with me and a bunch of other great moms after the episodes, you can check out the stream. 

It’s a positive online space where you can get support and take a breather from the stresses of dealing with your son or daughter. Just go to the stream community. com to learn more. Now let’s get into today’s episode. Hello, friends. Welcome back. I hope you’re doing well. And I’m especially happy that you’re here today for this episode. 

It is one that will speak to those of you who are working on being more self compassionate, which is a big, big component of this journey that you’re on, but it can also be pretty confusing. So I wanted to spend a little bit of time diving into a few specific elements of self compassion. And before I do that, I also just want to say how brave it is that you are here. 

It is not easy to listen to a podcast like Hope’s Dream, but the fact that you’re here tells a story and that story is that someone in your life is struggling and you’ve come to a place where you’ve recognized the need and the desire to educate yourself and get yourself some support in order to help you both and that alone. 

It’s a big awakening and a big act of self compassion, actually. So see, it all comes full circle, but really the fact that you’re here shows that you have a lot of strength. You have a lot of self discipline. You are willing to be humble and to recognize that you have some work to do. And I want to honor that because you might not be getting a lot of kudos or pats on the back right now. 

So here is your virtual high five. I see you and I am really honored to have you here. I’ve been studying self compassion since about 2018 when I began my training as a health and wellness coach, and it was introduced to me first at the Mayo Clinic where I studied and got my certification, and at the I had never even given a second thought to the concept of self compassion and truthfully, I rolled my eyes at it as something that weak people might do or have. 

But then as I was sitting in a class at the Mayo Clinic School of Medicine in Rochester, Minnesota, with the top experts in the field of health and wellness, and they were talking about positive psychology and self compassion. I started to pay more attention because I figure these are the people who know all the things about all the things. 

And if they’re talking about this, it must actually be real. Turns out that this isn’t just a psycho babble and stuff for the week. And I’ve been really humbled and intrigued at what a difference our mindset can make when we are going through really hard stuff in life. So if you are where I was a few years back and rolling your eyes, stick with me on this and I think you’re going to find some great information and tools. 

Kristen Neff is the expert thought leader on self compassion. I’ll be putting links to all of her work. In the show notes for you, and you can always find the show notes if you just go to my website, brendazane. com forward slash podcast. And then you can either, if you’re listening in real time, the episode will be right at the very top. 

If not, you can scroll to episode 77. Is this one, and you’ll find all of the links and resources there. And if you’ve read my ebook hindsight, you will have seen a tiny bit of Kristen’s work mentioned there. And what I love about her work and her approach is that it’s extremely accessible. It’s not highly theoretical or complicated. 

So that works really great for people like us who don’t have a ton of extra mental space available in our brains. I’ll start by sharing what self compassion is and what it isn’t, and then we’ll get into a question that I know many people have, which is, am I being self compassionate? Am I being lazy? Or am I actually self sabotaging? 

So self compassion is when instead of just mercilessly judging yourself and criticizing yourself for inadequacies or shortcomings, you’re kind and understanding with yourself when you have these personal failings or when you have challenges in life. Self compassion involves acting the same way towards yourself as you would to other people when you’re having one of these difficult times, when you fail at something, or if you just notice something that you don’t really like about yourself. 

And instead of just ignoring your pain with this kind of stiff upper lip mentality, you stop to tell yourself, this is really hard right now. And you think about ways that you can comfort and care for yourself in that moment. I love a bit of writing that Kristen has on her website that says this, things will not always go the way you want them to. 

You will encounter frustrations, losses will occur. You will make mistakes, bump up against your limitations, fall short of your ideals. This is the human condition, a reality shared by all of us. The more you open your heart to this reality, instead of constantly fighting against it, the more you’ll be able to feel compassion for yourself and all your fellow humans in the experience of life. 

if that is self compassion, what is it not? It is not self pity. That’s when you become immersed in your own problems and you forget that other people have similar problems. You ignore relationships with other people and you feel that you’re the only one in the world who is suffering or suffering to the extent that you are in self pity. 

You exaggerate the extent of your personal suffering and you get really wrapped up in your own emotional drama. You can’t step back from the situation that you’re in and find a more balanced or objective perspective. And for those of us who have kids who are struggling with addiction, or even who are potentially now in recovery, or in those early days of recovery, or transitioning from a treatment program into the next phase, this is a trap that we can fall into really easily, because when we look around at our friends and our family members, Their problems can seem a little bit inconsequential, or at least they, they seem to us to be much less serious compared to ours. 

Mainly, I think, because ours is often. truly a life and death type of problem versus the kind of problem that just makes you uncomfortable. So we can isolate and spiral down into the scary places that our kids might be, or that we imagine they might be, and we can feel sorry for ourselves because if people only knew what we were dealing with, right? 

So self compassion is not self pity. Also, self compassion isn’t self indulgence. And this is where we get to the question of whether I’m being self compassionate, or am I just being lazy? And you might say to yourself that you’re reluctant to To enter into this idea of self compassion because you’re afraid that you would just let yourself get away with anything like my daughter relapsed again So I’m gonna skip my book club and lay in bed and watch Netflix eat a bowl of popcorn and drink wine And that’s not self compassion. 

That is self indulgence and it also Teeters on self sabotage, which I’m going to get to in a minute So just giving yourself pleasure in the moment might actually be detrimental to your long term well being. So things like overeating, pity shopping, drinking too much, being a couch potato, isolating from everybody. 

Those are things that are really not going to be helpful to your long term well being. And here’s counterintuitive. Giving yourself health and lasting happiness. It might involve a certain amount of displeasure or uncomfortableness, like getting yourself out there to socialize a little bit, losing some weight that you’ve gained, just getting out and moving your body or eating well, taking the time to really prepare food for yourself and eat well. 

So there’s a balance that you need to find between being good to yourself and doing something that feels good but actually isn’t good for you. Finally, self compassion can sometimes disguise itself as self sabotage. This is a tricky one, so I’m going to do my best to walk through it in an understandable way. 

Self sabotage would say I need 15 extra minutes in bed right now when normally I would be getting up and working out, but because I’m taking this extra time to rest, aka I think I’m actually being lazy, I can’t work out today, I’ll do it tomorrow. That’s what self sabotage would say. Self compassion would say, I need 15 extra minutes in bed right now when normally I would get up and work out. 

But I know that working out keeps my head on straight and it makes me feel good. So I’m going to shift my schedule this afternoon so I can still get in my walk. So do you see the difference there? Self sabotage can allow itself to sneak in under the disguise of self compassion and it can be really sneaky and really subtle if we’re not careful. 

brutally honest with ourselves when we look at these kinds of situations. And I share this as an example because I actually experienced this myself just the other morning. I woke up after a great night’s sleep, almost eight hours of sleep. And I felt that I should just jump out of bed and work out before doing anything else. 

But my body was telling me to stay put for a few minutes to lay in bed and not force myself into anything. Of course, the bickering in my mind started, Get up. You slept great. There’s no reason why you can’t get on your mat and work out. You are being lazy. You’re putting it off. Just get up and do it. And the other voice was saying, This feels amazing. 

Stay here. Be quiet. And be still before the day starts. And around and around, this conversation went in my head until I couldn’t decide if I was being lazy or self compassionate. And in the end, I did stay in bed, and I spent 15 minutes in intentional gratitude and prayer, and I just enjoyed the softness of my bed. 

how do I know that I wasn’t being lazy? There’s a really good litmus test to answer this question. And Being compassionate to yourself means that you want to be happy and healthy in the long term, and your actions support that. if you’re questioning your actions, ask if what you’re doing is supporting your overall long term health and well being. 

And if it is, then it’s self compassion. If it’s not, it could be self indulgence or self sabotage. So in my example, there were two elements at play, my mental and physical health, staying in bed and practicing gratitude and prayer fed my mental and spiritual health. Yet, I know for me, working out and moving my body is also critical for me to function well and to feel good. 

It is just a non negotiable to my sanity, basically. So I blocked out some time in my calendar later in the day to do some exercise. And I had to hold myself to that, even though my tendency would be then to just rush through the day and prioritize work or whatever else had happened. But practicing self compassion means putting myself first and my health first. 

That is what I had to do. If I blew off working out, that would then actually be self sabotage. So self compassion isn’t about letting yourself off the hook. However, there’s a critical mindset that we need to have to practice true self compassion. We need to accept that we are all flawed human beings. 

I’m going to say that again because it is so simple, but so many of us fight against this truth. We are all flawed human beings. I am flawed. You are flawed. There is no such thing as a perfect human. And I think until we truly accept that, and we live with that mindset, and we’ve really Breathe that mindset into every fiber of us, we will suffer and those that we love will suffer. 

And it’s a really a strange thing that admitting the fact that we are flawed human beings is perceived sometimes as not being honest with ourselves. So this is meta. So stay with me here. But often we can feel guilty for saying I’m only human, or I am doing my best, or I have done all that I can do. 

When we’re actually honest about it, telling ourselves that we are flawed, We’re not perfect, and we’re not going to get everything perfect, then can make us think that we’ve done something bad, or that we’re being too easy on ourselves. This can be a really vicious trap where you’ve finally gotten to a place where you’re practicing self compassion, you’re being kind and understanding to yourself, and then you start doubting that kindness and compassion as if it were a bad thing. 

And that’s not to say that you’re not going to have a day when things are just really challenging and you literally barely make it through the day by the skin of your teeth. It just means that you are aware and taking note of your limits and of what your needs are. If you’re aware and say intentionally, today, I am not going to work out. 

I’m going to be gentle on myself so I make it through the day. That’s fine. But if you know that working out or just moving your body or just eating the right food or just calling the right person to talk to would make you feel better and you don’t do it, then not giving yourself that time and doing that for yourself is not being self compassionate. 

Do you see how tricky this is? I’m almost confusing myself just saying it. So you might have to rewind and listen to that again. But we often can feel guilty for not feeling guilty. And that’s what I really wanted to emphasize today is take a look at what you’re doing. Take a look at the things that you are practicing in your life to really find out, are you being self compassionate? 

Are you being lazy or self indulgent or are you self sabotaging? And usually, friends, we all do all of it. So don’t think that you’re going to get this perfect. Don’t think that every time you do something, it’s going to be the perfect act of self compassion. It’s not. But what you can do is just start looking at patterns that you have and see where you might fall into some of those traps. 

The good news is compassion is wise and it sees through this crazy illusion that we have that we have control over our actions a hundred percent of the time. So you’ve accepted that you’re a flawed human being, which is a great place to start when you work on self compassion. So let’s talk about a few tips to practicing self compassion. 

One thing that we don’t want to do is use self compassion to try and make our pain go away by suppressing it or fighting against it. It’s not an eraser. If we do that, things will likely just get worse. Healthy self compassion means that we mindfully accept what we’re going through is painful. What we’re going through is scary. 

It’s hard. And we embrace ourselves with kindness and care in response to that reality. We remember that imperfection, pain, and suffering are all part of this shared human experience that we’re going through. There’s not one person on earth who hasn’t experienced pain and suffering and who hasn’t made mistakes. 

So expecting that we should somehow be able to live our life in a way that will never let somebody down, that will never react poorly, that will never drop the ball or get frustrated or irritated, that will never take out our feelings on somebody who doesn’t deserve it is crazy. All of that is just life is just reality, and it’s going to happen. 

So it’s important for our sanity and for our longevity to find a way to reckon with the pain, with the fear, with the unknown of what’s going to happen with our kids. You cannot live day in and day out with a mindset of guilt, fear, anxiety, and shame. You just can’t if you want to enjoy this one go at life that you’ve been given. 

We have one go at it, friends. And I truly believe now that self compassion If it’s practiced in a healthy way, like we’ve just talked about is the answer to finding a life that you can enjoy despite the circumstances that your son or daughter is currently in, because you don’t know how long they’re going to be in this. 

You don’t have control over that. So you have to take control over what you can and what you can control is right in between your ears. And if we can do this, have a mindset and a practice of healthy self compassion, it lets us hold ourselves in love and connection, and it lets us give ourselves the support and comfort that we need to make it through this season of life. 

Tender self compassion is nurturing and healing. It’s not punitive or punishing, and it should not be guilt inducing. It lets us be with our pain and with our imperfection, just as we are. And as a reminder, self compassion might mean saying no. It might mean that we have to say no to someone or a set of circumstances in order to protect ourselves. 

It also might mean saying yes. Yes to ourselves over someone else or something else. Or yes to accepting some help. And if you haven’t listened to episode 71 on radical unapologetic self care, I would highly recommend going back and downloading that one because I do a full deep dive into this concept of things that you might need to say no and yes to in order to take better care of yourself. 

So for a quick review on self compassion. It is acting the same way towards yourself as you would to others when you’re having a difficult time, when you fail, when you notice something that you don’t like about yourself. It is not self pity, where you’re consumed in your own pain and drama and you can’t see other people’s suffering. 

It is not self indulgence, where the things that you do are actually hurting yourself, which goes along with self sabotage, where you don’t do things for yourself that you know are helpful and good for your health and being in the name of compassion. And the litmus test for all of this is, are my actions in support of my overall health, sanity, and wellness, is what I’m doing good for me, or is it just making me feel good in the moment? 

And remember that sometimes what you’re doing as self compassion might make you slightly uncomfortable because it is in service of your overall long term health. Thank you for being here. Thank you for spending the time to do some deep internal work that makes your life better. But it also makes the lives of everyone around you better. 

You have a ripple effect that goes out to those in your life, especially those in your home. And the better that you can be for yourself, it really truly impacts everyone in your wake. This is hard stuff. It is stuff that you have to be intentional about, and I am just incredibly, incredibly happy to do it with you. 

Thank you so much for listening. If you would like to go to the show notes, you can always find those at brendazane. com forward slash podcast. Each episode is listed there with full transcript, all of the resources that we mentioned, as well as a place to leave comments if you would like to do that. You might also want to download a free ebook I wrote called Hindsight, Three Things I Wish I Knew When My Son Was Addicted to Drugs. 

It’s full of the information I wish I would have known when my son was struggling with his addiction. You can grab that at brendazane. com forward slash hindsight. Thanks again for listening, and I will meet you right back here next week.

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