Starting a Self-Compassion Revolution

First things first. We’re not therapists or experts, just throwing our opinions out there!

This is something that’s close to our hearts so we’re choosing to gently dip our toe into the wonderful world of self-compassion, where being brave & showing kindness meets up with self-improvement and might just spark a revolution of feel-good vibes with those who read it. 

So, sit back, unclench your jaw, take some deeper breaths and drop those shoulders for a few minutes. Let’s explore why showing ourselves some tender loving care is not only important but also comes with some cool benefits too.

Picture this. We’ve all done it in our own way. A friend is in need and reaches out to you. Naturally, you offer them a listening ear, a supportive shoulder, and sprinkle your words with empathy and kindness. Seems like a no-brainer right..? Isn’t this what everyone does?

Yep! Most of us are brilliant at dishing out compassion to others. Our hearts swell and those soothing words just trip off the tongue.

Then, something strange happens. You suddenly need a little compassion yourself, for whatever the reason, and those emotions, skills and words just disappear!

It’s like the worlds best magic trick, ‘roll up, roll up and witness the incredible Disappearing Compassion’

We’re quick to extend compassion to others, but when it comes to ourselves, we can become self-critical ninjas. It’s like we’ve entered a secret society where guilt, shame, harsh words and self-judgment reign supreme. We say things to ourselves that we would surely never say to anyone who needed our help. What the hell is going on? 

At We Are BRAVE we want to try to flip that internal mean spirited script and instead embrace a Self-Compassion Revolution!

Something most of us tend to forget is that we’re all human, and that means making mistakes is part of the deal. 

Instead of berating ourselves with a never-ending loop of negative self-talk, let’s treat ourselves like a best friend. Be gentle, kind, offer a helping hand, and reassure yourself that it’s all part of life. We are not perfect. We will always make mistakes.

Showing self-compassion doesn’t mean you’re letting yourself off the hook or settling for less. It’s about acknowledging your flaws, embracing your imperfections, and understanding that you deserve a little bit of love and understanding, just as much as the next person. Simple eh..?

So let’s talk about the benefits of self-compassion. When you treat yourself with compassion, you’re giving your mind and body the permission to relax and heal. 

Stress levels decrease, and the weight of self-judgment slowly lifts from your shoulders.

As an added bonus, self-compassion strengthens your resilience. Much as we hate to quote Roman Keating, life really is an unpredictable rollercoaster, and when you freefall, which you inevitably will, self-compassion acts as a cushion that helps you bounce back stronger. 

We want you to create an inner cheerleader that’s always on your side, reminding you that you have what it takes to conquer any challenge that comes your way.

We want to leave you with a personal challenge.

The language we use when we talk to ourselves is incredibly important and the words we choose can have a lasting legacy. We challenge you to choose the harshest word you say to yourself (we all have one) and simply start to soften it a little each time you say it. Dial down the inner mean girl and turbo-boost the self compassion revolution. ❤️

Remember, any Self-Compassion Revolution starts inside each and every one of us. Let’s try harder to be brave & kind, gentle and supportive and spread those good vibes to the people around us.

8 Ways to Fail at being BRAVE

Life can be really hard. We get it. So why bother..?

The pressure is always on, the workload can feel relentless and then on top of that you need to try and be BRAVE? Who has the time? 

We share so much helpful content with you about how to be BRAVE that we realised we’ve made a glaring omission! 

What if you just want to get on with it in your own way and not use our guiding principles? 😳 

Behold, just for you, here’s 8 Ways to Fail at being BRAVE. 

Rush into your decisions

Work at speed, keep up that pace at all times, and never slow down before thinking. Definitely do not take time to write anything down! There’s no time! Your brain will fill in the gaps and find the clarity you need from somewhere. When it comes to conversations, don’t take the time to think your answer through, just shoot from the hip! 

Speak quickly, without thought, and don’t worry about backing it up. 

As you jump from a meeting, to a debate, to a call and then onto the next zoom, just say whatever comes to mind. Don’t worry about it, who even pays attention anyway? An even easier way is to develop your inner parrot! Take what someone else says, add a little twist of your own and repeat it. Easy win all day long! If anyone challenges you, just throw the question back at them and swiftly change the topic. No-one will even remember this next week!

Trust your gut, and decide quickly, especially about other people!

Where there are important decisions to be made, it’s important to keep it high level, don’t get into the detail. The quicker you decide the faster this meeting needs! If someone challenges you or your thoughts then they’re clearly jealous and you can secretly plot their downfall at a later stage. If it’s gets a bit personal, so be it, they started it after all. 

Don’t give your thinking any extra thought , you know you’re pretty much always right  

Life is too busy for second guessing right? Once you have answered a question or made your decision then save time and move the hell on! There’s no need to over analyse and reflect over what you said or why, it’s a waste of time. Why? Your brain cleverly gets used to the way you work and think and eventually introduces biases and shortcuts to get you quickly to the same type of decisions over and over again. Genius! 

Learn to get your own way when you need to.  

This one’s all about learning to disagree and win at all costs. If someone disagrees with you then you need to nip it in the bud. Make a stand and understand that this person clearly dislikes you, so there’s no relationship to lose. It’s important that in a disagreement you do not fail, you must make sure to win, no matter how it reflects on you because what’s important is not failing.

Make the easy (or even first) decision, saving you time and effort. 

Decision making can swallow up so much time in meetings. A simple way to expedite the process is to use those helpful brain shortcuts we talked about earlier and just make the first, or the easiest, decision that comes to mind. Another brilliant way to sidestep decision making completely is to simply agree with whoever is the loudest, or highest paid person in the room. This way nothing sticks to you when it goes wrong. Perfect!  

When debating, focus on the person not the topic!

When it comes to debating there’s a sure fire way to get what you need, or at the very least be disruptive and hurry the meeting along. Flip the focus from whatever the topic is, and instead make it about the person who is talking. This is so much easier! You don’t need to agree, or disagree with the topic, especially if you don’t really understand it. Just pick holes in the person, the way they’re debating, the words they use and try to get them to defend their ideas. Before you know it you’ll have made it into a personal dig at the person whilst simultaneously dodging having to make any kind of decision. 

Finally, and this one is truly brilliant when it comes to really failing at being BRAVE. 

No decision = no progress = no work.

At the end of any meeting or debate there’s that moment where a decision just needs to be made. People start to become uncertain or even fear the decision they’re about to make. They need help. The best thing to do is wrap up the meeting asap and take the pressure off. Give people a break from making decisions. The added benefit to this is that now nothing will get agreed on, therefore there’s no follow up work to be done and it will probably just get shelved or tabled for a later discussion. Bonus! 

If you’ve read this blog and identified any of the descriptions or behaviours in your own worlds then you might need to get in touch with us. We can help you and your teams to not fail at being BRAVE and instead learn that all progress starts with a BRAVE decision. 

If, however, you’re truly determined to fail, we’ve even created a Downloadable Fail Checklist to help you Fail Better

You can download it here:

Navigating Cross-Cultural Communication

Guest Blog by Juliana Nogueira Mathew.

Where are you from? How do you greet each person when you arrive at social or work gatherings? Air Kiss on the cheek? Bow? Shake hands? What language do you speak?

Question for later…What does the thumbs-up gesture mean in your country? 

With technology facilitating instant connections all over the world and workplaces increasing diversity, interactions of people from different backgrounds have enabled the exchange of culturally different customs, norms, perspectives and communication styles. 

However, the lack of good communication can result in misunderstandings and even conflicts.  So, to enhance effectiveness in communication between cultures, improve mutual understanding and create a safe space for people to explore their differences, I brought three “whats” we can ask ourselves which can help us navigate through this intercultural journey: 

1. What is my communication style?

Who has never been in a situation where we felt left out for not quite understanding what was being said? Or got upset with a colleague for the way they said something or acted towards you? Or when we accidentally sent “the wrong message”, leaving the other person feeling extremely uncomfortable? 

Communication involves much more than the language we speak and how well we speak it. People’s language fluency has less importance in communication than we think. 

It’s always good to remember that life is not like a school test where you will be marked for every mistake you make (thankfully) – I tell myself this every time I use the wrong preposition in English (I still have trouble with that).

The objective of communication is to create meaning across different contexts through messages which we encode (when we send them) and decode (when we receive and interpret them). So, in cross-cultural communication, the coded information present in one culture might include a variety of specific meanings which might confuse or even upset another.

Non-verbal elements such as body language and differences in communication styles play an essential role in dictating how messages are delivered and help the receiver understand the message sent. However, it can differ a lot depending on the individual our group’s cultural background.  

Some examples of variations in communications styles between cultures, include: 

  • Directness 
  • Eye contact 
  • Tone, volume and speed of speech 
  • Emotional expressiveness 
  • Self-disclosure 
  • Formality

According to Think Cultural Health, “loud and expressive speech is often more common in African American, Caribbean, Latino, an Arab cultures” – as a Latina myself, I frequently see loud and expressive speech often happening over here – and “direct eye contact is considered rude in some Asian cultures”. Did you know that in some cultures smiling is seen as a diplomatic mechanism to facilitate relationships, while in others, it can be considered inappropriate (like when greeting a stranger). So interesting, hey?

Of course, there are always exceptions to any norms and when it comes to culture, it is no different. However, understanding how cultural patterns can influence how we express ourselves, even if unconsciously, it can help us understand more about our own unique communication styles and others people’s, improving our personal and professional cross-cultural relationships. 

2. What are my perspectives?

 We all have our own unique and different perceptions of the world, which are shaped not only by our cultural background, but by a combination of elements such as the way our brain processes information, our values, our emotions, our expectations and experiences throughout life.  

We all want to be in healthy and positive environments where we feel respected, listened to, and confident expressing ourselves, no matter where we are from. However, this sense of discomfort can sometimes derive from our own fear of not belonging or fitting in, and not from others. It’s all about our perspective on things.

In 2017, when I moved out of my birth country, Brazil, for the first time to Australia, I was having mixed feelings, from being extremely excited with this new challenge to silently panicking with the idea of facing the unknown. Over the years, I studied and worked in international organisations and met people from different parts of the world. I was also asked a few times about soccer – I think people expect me to love soccer just because I am from Brazil, which is not necessarily always the case – lucky for them I actually do. 

At the beginning I remember often feeling very self-conscious about my communication style and my ability to understand others (especially when they would use their unique Australian slangs). I would constantly be thinking if I was speaking English well enough, if the way I was saying things could give people the wrong impressions (like when I can be quite “expressive” when I talk and when I tend to go for big hugs even if I just met someone), or if people would be judging me because of my accent. What made me change perspectives was when I started listening more to people when they would come to me and tell me that I communicated very well (even though in my mind I didn’t). I needed to “get out of my own head”.

The biggest challenges people might face when communicating with people from different cultures is expressing themselves using their own communication style while having social awareness and paying attention to the impact that the way we communicate might have on others.

Do not let the fear of the unknown or people’s judgment interfere in how you show your unique self.

3. What can I do to get better?

Over time, I started building skills that would help me better understand about myself and what is (actually) essential in any good communication.

Self-awareness, adaptability, empathy, curiosity and active listening are a few of the (very important) skills involved not only in intercultural communication, but in life.  

Building these skills might not be easy at the start, but it is all about practice. Remembering that once they become part of how we interact with others, it can bring plenty of benefits to us individually or to the groups we are part of.  Problem-solving, creativity, innovation, decision-making and conflict resolution are just a few of them.  

Here are a few tips on how get better at communicating cross-culturally: 

  • REFLECT about your own biases,
  • ADAPT your communicate style when needed (be humble),
  • BE CLEAR of your objective and intention, 
  • FOCUS on the other person (not on yourself), 
  • LISTEN to the other person carefully, 
  • BE OPEN to different perspectives,
  • SHOW empathy (try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes) 
  • BE KIND. 

Ah, and the most important thing: don’t be afraid to be yourself. In the end, it doesn’t matter where we are from, what we experienced in life or how we see the world. We are all humans with unique backgrounds and stories that have the ability and opportunity to learn from others but also to enrich people’s lives with our own unique perspectives.  

Communication and Leadership

Intercultural communication can be hard and promoting mutual understanding requires constant work. Reflecting about our own perspectives, communication styles and what makes us unique, understanding more about other cultures as well as the reason behind other people’s behaviours and working on building key skills, will help us become better communicators and better leaders. 

By putting effort into communicating more effectively with people from different cultural backgrounds, we will be not only contributing to our own personal and professional growth but will also be facilitating safe spaces where effective intercultural communication is navigated with sensitivity, clarity and respect.

So, let’s get out of our comfort zones and acknowledge (and kick out) our biases to explore the world of possibilities that cross-cultural communication can provide – and the best thing: we can do this in the comfort of our homes.

Fun Fact! If you were curious about the thumbs-up gesture meanings, for most countries, it can be a sign of approval, but in others, (such as some parts of the Middle East), it has a very bad meaning, similar to showing your middle finger. Who knew…

Juliana Nogueira Mathew

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