Sometimes we get caught up in our own self flagellation over not sleeping. To break the insomnia cycle, it’s time to see yourself as you really are: a perfectly imperfect.

14 hands with their palms painted red, creating the shape of a heart. On an article about self compassion to break the insomnia cycle.

If you can’t love yourself, how the hell are you gonna love somebody else?

RuPaul

I wanted to touch briefly on self compassion, and what it means for you at this time in your insomnia journey and how it can help break the insomnia cycle.

What you’re going through right now is truly difficult. I know, because I have been where you are. It can feel like an endless cycle of trudging through your days, and suffering through your nights.

It’s an emotionally numb yet neurotic existence that can, at worst, feel deeply debilitating and depressing. You want so desperately to sleep but can’t (though I hope you are starting to at this point). You didn’t wake up one day (excuse the pun) and decide to not be able to sleep at night. This wasn’t part of the plan – it’s not part of anyone’s plan. 

But for now, this is the hand you were dealt for one reason or another. And what I want you to do is find some compassion for yourself as you’re traveling through this sometimes straightforward, sometimes daunting, insomnia mountain pass. 

I want you to recognise that you are incredibly capable of achieving the resiliency needed to stay on course.

It can take time.

When you’re taking the journey to overcome insomnia, there may be twists and turns where progress isn’t always linear. But if you keep going, there will be plenty of days where you make leaps in progress. 

You are powerful. You might not fully realise it, but I hope you are beginning to believe in yourself that you have it in you to sleep soundly, and regularly.

You’re on a tough, but manageable journey – you have my guarantee that this mountain to climb is well within your abilities. Your drive that you have to overcome this problem in your life is something to be admired and appreciated by you. 

Also, I want you to know you are deserving of empathy and understanding towards yourself. This manageable mountain path may feel very unmanageable at times.

Maybe you have started making progress and made your way up a few hundred metres. Maybe there have been switchbacks that can feel like you’re barely making progress. Or maybe those first few steps have led you to trip and fall.

It’s ok. Give yourself a tender understanding that this mountain can sometimes be treacherous. As trite as it sounds, this too shall pass. Tell yourself that you’ll be okay, get back up and keep going. You’ve got this. 

Give yourself some credit.

Having self compassion means being able to forgive yourself for perceived shortcomings, accepting that you’re human and will make mistakes from time to time, and loving yourself when you’re not living up to your own standards1. It’s knowing when you are having a tough time and giving yourself patience and kindliness when you need it. 

Self compassion is being able to be kind to yourself rather than judgemental. It’s acknowledging  that things are actually hard right now, and it’s normal to feel down. It’s not wallowing in self pity, it’s knowing there’s a perfectly valid reason to feel sad and giving yourself warmth when you need it. And if you think it’s self indulgent to give yourself compassion – it’s not. It’s actually the other way around. It’s self indulgent to always listen to your ego telling you how to stay in line.

The difference between the two is almost as stark as night and day. Self indulgence ignores your experience – self compassion cares and guides you through your experience. 

You’re having a difficult time. Recognise that not sleeping well one night sucks, because it does. But recognise that it’s not the end of the world either. You are still here, and still persevering. 

It takes strength to embark on this journey. You are to be commended for being open to learning and growing. And you are deserving of rest. 

I hope you see that in yourself.