A recent article by compassion researcher Dr Kristin Neff raises some important points about different ways of being compassionate. Often people notice a difference between what Dr Neff calls ‘yin, or soft compassion’ when things haven’t been going well, compared with joyful compassion when all is well in our world.
Now this article by Dr Neff, raises another type of self-compassion – fierce self-compassion – when we say ‘Enough. For my safety and well-being, I must stop allowing that to happen again’.
Whilst it is important in leadership and service roles to listen to the client and to colleagues, it is also important to learn to express our limits. These may be limits on the day – if we are tired / everwhelmed / something negative has happened; or values limits – this is not okay for me to keep seeing / hearing / experiencing.
Have a look at a great video clip from NLP master trainer Steve Andreas about guilt.
He gives us some really good reframing: If I’m feeling guilty about something rude I said, I can ask myself “in the moment what was more important – speaking up or being nice? If I acknowledge that I’ve chosen speaking up for myself as more important, then I must be a person who lives my values.”
So I’ve reframed the thought of violating a value in order to satisfy another value to mean I am a person who lives my values. Nice. It’s counterintuitive – an interesting benefit of guilt.
If I”m feeling really guilty about not “being nice” then that means that value is also really important to me. So a values clash can help to clarify what’s important to me. Another benefit of guilt.
Maybe I haven’t learned how to achieve both together yet, but by knowing that both values are important, I can choose to make amends, to show that I’m also ‘nice’. And using ‘intelligent regret’, I can reflect on my behaviour and choose to do something different in the future that combines both values. This gives me problem to solve rather than wallowing in embarrassment. That’s a third benefit of guilt.
In conclusion, guilt is good. Especially if you do something different as a result of it.
Thanks Steve – very helpful.
Last night I enjoyed a fascinating lecture & discussion with Richard Badham, Professor of Management at MGSM.Â The intriguing title was “Rebels without Applause” and the discussion centred around how management researchers, especially those who use action research methods, can balance competing needs from industry and academia.Â This was a salutatory lesson for me, as I start on my next phase ofÂ academic pursuit.
Professor Badham also showed a great clip from Tom Peters (In Search of Excellence etc.) who talked about those who were rewarded for “colouring within the lines” and those who were compelled to draw outside the lines.
As a consultant with a strong conscience, I am often torn between doing what I’d agreed (colouring within the lines) and doing what seems like it will be more helpful to the particular client group; between respecting confidentiality and finding ways to anonymously raise critical issues; between being an outsider with a job to do and caring enough to become a change agent within the system.
It was comforting to know that there are others like me and inspiring to know that some are prepared to document their experiences as part of a strong reflective practice.