‘If you don’t come out of this with a new skill, you never lacked time, you lacked discipline.’ I am utterly horrified.’: Trauma psychologist says ‘what we need right now is self-compassion’

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“I thought I was spared the horrid ‘motivational’ phrase going around now, ‘If you don’t come out of this with a new skill, you never lacked time, you lacked discipline’ until I saw it on my local yoga studio page.

As a trauma psychologist, I am utterly, utterly horrified, enraged, and bewildered about how people can believe and spread this phrase in good conscience.

We are going through a collective trauma that is bringing up profound grief, loss, panic over livelihoods, panic over loss of lives of loved ones. People’s nervous systems are barely coping with the sense of threat and vigilance for safety or alternating with feeling numb and frozen and shutting down in response to it all.

People are trying to survive poverty, fear, retriggering of trauma, retriggering of other mental health difficulties. Yet, someone has the nerve to accuse someone of a lack of discipline for not learning a new skill, and by a yoga teacher!

This cultural obsession with ‘productivity’ and always spending time in a ‘productive’ or ‘fruitful’ way is absolutely maddening.

What we need is more self-compassion, more gentle acceptance of all the difficult emotions coming up for us now, more focus on gentle ways to soothe ourselves and our pain and the pain of loved ones around us. Not a whipping by some random sign that makes us feel worse about ourselves in the name of ‘motivation.’”

This story was written by Alaa Hijazi, clinical psychologist. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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