What can we Learn from Spilling the Milk?

Have you ever spilt the milk? 

How did you react? With “argh, you-idiot!” or, did you take a moment to breathe, and remind yourself that everyone spills the milk sometimes?  

Our ability to be respectful and kind to ourselves, even when faced with our own shortcomings, is a sign of self-compassion. 

Therapist Dr Kristin Neff describes self-compassion as acting the same way toward yourself as you would a dear friend when they’re having a difficult time – healing ourselves with kindness.  We replace our discouraging and blunt words with ones of gentle reassurance. 

When we practice self-compassion in the event of minor mishaps, such as spilling the milk, we have an opportunity to practice self-compassion. Given that life can be highly challenging, being able to activate self-compassion could serve us well in the event of more stressful circumstances, such as illness, redundancy, divorce, etc. 

How can we cultivate self-compassion?

Try to catch yourself when you put yourself down (self-flagellate). Stop yourself in the act and replace your blunt tone and words with soft words of kindness and encouragement.  

Practice Common Humanity. That is, remember that we humans are connected not only by the joys in our lives but also by our common struggles and fears. Reach out. Sometimes you will need support, and sometime you will be the one to support others. 

Mindfulness – letting our judgements roll by as we return to simply observing each present moment. We can practice mindfulness in a group setting, or in informal practice. You could spend a few minutes being mindful whilst you wash the dishes or eat dinner. Focus on your breath when you’re feeling upset or angry. Mindfulness allows us to self regulate and creates space where we can ’remember’ to be compassionate.

There is a popular coaching question – What would you do if you knew you could not fail?  It’s a great question…. but is failure something to be avoided at all costs? 

Maybe a better question might be… ‘What would you do if you trusted yourself to be only kind and proud of yourself, whatever the outcome?


Best wishes,

High Peak Life Coach

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