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Saturday, June 22, 2024

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The Case For Self-Compassion In Retirement

This post is a duplication of our newsletter, The Weekly Reset, where we review a key theme each week. In the spotlight this week: The case for self-compassion in retirement. Do you take time in your life to show yourself some compassion? You definitely should!

A note from Johann

Overcome undue self criticism

Find more self compassion

In our best moments, we think and feel for others. We have compassion. It is about being in the place of someone else and having the compassion needed to feel for their situation. We can do this well. It is our instinct to have empathy and care for the situation of others. We tend to have less concern and care for ourselves at times. Even if we are having difficulty, we often ignore it and focus on whatever is creating a problem for someone else. Focusing on ourselves feels selfish.

We live in a world where being confident and self assured is what we all strive for. Our exposure to prominent advertising and social media, extolling the ideal life, shows us how we fall short and don’t measure up to what is being portrayed. It is no wonder we feel unsure of ourselves and insecure. Our culture seems to demand confidence from us. And even if you are not feeling assured of yourself, you have to look as if you are. At the same time, you must be self-effacing. This difficult and rather contradictory process can be very stressful.

With the persistence of the news cycle, our compassion is constantly being challenged. It confronts us with the disasters faced by others, and we are pulled in many directions and toward many compelling causes. It feels overwhelming at times.We are our own worst enemies when we don’t show ourselves compassion.

The extent of our compassion also needs to find a place in our hearts for ourselves. We have to take the trouble to develop a greater self-awareness for our own needs so that we don’t always end up seeking the affirmation of others to sustain us. Self-compassion has been proven to lower our stress levels. And in reality, when we are more relaxed and acting out of kindness to ourselves, we are also more able to show compassion to others more effectively.

Treat yourself as you would treat your best friend.


Our top pick this week:

How to Stop Obsessing Over Your Mistakes

There are effective solutions for stopping yourself from rumination.

Image 101Cats/Getty as per original article from The Harvard Business Review

“Do you ever find yourself endlessly mentally replaying situations in which you wish you’d performed differently? You wish you hadn’t said that dumb thing.

Overthinking in this way is called rumination. While we worry about what might occur in the future, we ruminate about events that have already happened. A ruminative reaction to an event often triggers memories of similar situations from the past and an unproductive focus on the gap between the real and ideal self. Prompted by this one event, you begin to chastise yourself for not being more of something…organized, ambitious, smart, disciplined, or charismatic.

Rumination isn’t just unpleasant. It’s closely linked to poor problem-solving, anxiety, and depression. The good news is that there are effective solutions for breaking yourself out of this rut, and they’re simpler than you might think.

Identify your most common triggers. You can’t quell rumination without noticing that you’re doing it. A great way to get better at this is to think about what has triggered you in the past.
Get psychological distance. Next, you need to put some psychological distance between you and the things you ruminate about. One way to start to get this distance is by labeling what’s running through your head as thoughts and feelings. So instead of saying “I’m inadequate,” you might say, “I’m feeling like I’m inadequate.” You can even be more light-hearted about it: “Oh, that’s just my ruminating mind overheating again.”
Distinguish between ruminating and problem solving. Occasionally you might have a useful insight while ruminating, but mostly it’s avoidance coping. Generally, the more people ruminate, the less effective they are at problem solving.
Check your thinking for errors. Sometimes rumination is triggered by cognitive errors. (C)ommon cognitive errors include setting too-high self-expectations, misinterpreting others’ expectations of you, underestimating the extent to which other smart people struggle with what’s troubling you, and making mountains out of molehills.

Rumination is a widespread problem. Before you can break out of it, you need to become more aware of when you’re doing it and have resistance strategies ready to go.

Click here to read the whole article on Harvard Business Review

Our Spotlight video:

Having compassion for ourselves isn’t selfish. It simply means treating yourself the way you would want others to treat you. Being kind, forgiving and compassionate in the face of challenging times can help lower our stress levels and leave us better able to cope with the tasks we have.

Weekly Spotlight Video

Other Highlights of The Week:

How to Live Compassionately: Forgive Yourself Forgive Others

Forgiving eases suffering

Image from as per original article on Psychology Today

“To forgive is to stop feeling angry or resentful toward yourself or others for some perceived offense, flaw, or mistake. Keeping that definition in mind, forgiveness becomes a form of compassion. This is because compassion is the act of reaching out to yourself and others to help alleviate suffering.

Many of us find it hard to forgive. We’ve been conditioned from childhood to think of forgiving as a sign of weakness. But we can change our habits. That’s one of the most wondrous characteristics of the mind: it’s malleable. Each time we forgive ourselves or others, it becomes easier to do so the next time. This means that we are gradually changing a habit in a way that will bring us peace of mind.

As we know, forgiveness of oneself is the hardest of all the forgivenesses. —Joan Baez

“Hardest” is a good word to use here because when we’re not able to forgive ourselves, our hearts harden, making it unlikely we’ll be able to generate enough compassion for others so that we can forgive them when they disappoint or hurt us.”

Click here to read the article on Psychology Today

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Wildcard Pick for the Week

The Space Between Self-Esteem and Self Compassion
Click here to watch the TEDx talk on YouTube

Most Popular Quote of the Week

Remember, you have been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens. – Louise L. Hay
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Weekly Poll

This week’s question:
For which reason would you plan a side hustle for your retirement?
Click here to answer the question in our Facebook group

Last week’s poll and findings:
Share an example of how you practice self compassion.
• Bought myself a bouquet of flowers.
• Giving thanks after cleaning.
• Cancel everything for the day, go for a walk and treat myself to lunch out.
• 8 Hours of sleep.
• Deep Breathing & Meditation

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Johann is the founding partner of Reset Retirement where we focus on assisting people with planning for the non-financial aspects of their lives after full-time work. He had a long career in executive search and leadership as the founding partner and chairman of Heidrick & Struggles in South Africa where he was the head of the company’s board practice.