How often are we compassionate towards ourselves?
The Beauty of Self-Compassion
Often in life, we are quick to show compassion for other people, we nurture them, show kindness, give them a helping hand and forgive their mistakes. Yet somehow this can be far more difficult to achieve with our own lives. For some reason self-compassion can be seen as self-indulgent, self- pitying or even selfish. Too often when things go wrong or life is tough we can be our own worst enemy - our harshest critic, acting in ways towards ourselves that we wouldn’t dream of being like with another person.
Being more compassionate with ourselves enables us to live within a more harmonious state. It gives us the courage to accept all parts of ourselves, to accept our actions and behaviour without judgement when we are challenged by life events or situations. By being more accepting and compassionate it can become easier to move past our mistakes.
Self-compassionate people are able to recognise when they are struggling or suffering and will be kind towards themselves during in these times. They are able to adopt an accepting attitude towards their strengths and weaknesses which makes them much more likely to implement change without comparison to others or becoming self-critical. They are able to recognise that its ok to be imperfect and make mistakes.
Self-compassion as opposed to self- condemnation is much more likely to help you when it comes to breaking bad habits and changing behaviour.
If you are the sort of person who struggles to be kind to themselves when things aren’t working out then don’t despair, the good news is self-compassion is a skill we can learn and develop further over time.
Check out these simple tips to get you started.
Create a mantra
Developing a phrase to help you remember to be compassionate towards yourself can help to combat self-critical thoughts. Try something like ‘Although my life is hard right now, being kind to myself at this time will help to get me through’
Recognise your connection
When you make a mistake or you feel like beating yourself up for not coping remember that you are not alone in feeling like this. Sometimes it can be hard to remember that we all suffer life’s misfortunes that we all get it wrong from time to time - it is part of the human condition. As human beings, we are all connected by our imperfections and flaws. When you’re in the thick of it, it’s not easier to remember that we all suffer life’s misfortunes, that we all get it wrong from time to time -it’s not because you are useless, weak or anything else your inner critic tells you, it is simply being human.
Write a letter
When you are feeling overwhelmed or dragged down by your current situation write a letter to yourself as if you were addressing a good friend. What would you say to that friend if they were in your situation? This exercise can help you to recognise that you don’t need to be so hard on yourself.
Curb the self-talk
Keep a self-compassion journal. Write down all the critical things you have said to yourself. Ask yourself these questions. What has piling on the guilt and criticism achieved? Has it changed the outcome of the situation? Would you speak to a friend like this? Now write down what you could have said that would have been kinder and more helpful.
Try practising a guided meditation when you are feeling a lack of compassion for yourself. Mediation is a great way to be release negative thoughts and self-criticism and foster self-appreciation. It can help to re-enforce positive self- talk and help you to become more resilient in dealing with setbacks.
Remember giving yourself a hard time just makes it more difficult to bounce back from knockdowns. You will be far more productive if you can look for what you can learn from your mistakes or when things go wrong rather than wasting time going over and over them. Remind yourself that we all make mistake, we all suffer from time to time and during these times it’s far healthier and better for your personal growth to be kind to yourself.
Life is a journey of learning, there is always something for us to learn from every experience we just need to give up on the self-criticism and embrace the beauty of self-compassion.
Marie Paddington-Chivers is a mum of 3, a qualified person centred counsellor, is ever so slightly obsessed with natural living. She is a passionate believer that everyone has the ability to be marvellous. Sometimes life events, illness or stress can diminish self love, block creativity and derail a persons ability to fulfil their potential. However with a love and self-care it can be possible to find ways to tap back into that innate ability for personal growth and happiness.