How To Practice Self-Compassion

How To Practice Self-Compassion

From a young age we are often taught to be kind, considerate, and compassionate toward others; however, we are less typically encouraged to show this same consideration to ourselves.

Self-compassion means striving to maintain a courteous, supportive, and nonjudgmental relationship with ourselves. Doing so is important because it can help us appreciate our unconditional worth and value.

Recognizing that missteps and mistakes do not make us bad people creates space for a healthier relationship with ourselves and more consistent movement toward what we want our lives to be about – our goals and values.

Why Practice Self-Compassion?

Self-compassion refers to how we can relate to ourselves with kindness.

Over the past decade research has found a positive relationship between self-care and psychological well-being. Folks who consistently work to practice self-compassion tend to have better connections with others, are happier with their own lives, and report greater overall life satisfaction. Self-compassion also correlates with less shame, anxiety, and depression.

How To Practice Self-Compassion

1. Treat Yourself As You Would A Child

We are less likely to harshly judge or belittle a child. Consider ways in which you might want to relate to or interact with a child. When you begin to treat yourself as you would a child you likely begin to give greater love, tenderness, and kindness to yourself.

2. Practice Mindfulness

Our minds regularly process many more bits of information than which we are consciously aware. The predictions, programs, or simulations run by our mind can be rather influential, insisting we practice specific behaviors or make certain decisions.

Some of these scripts are the ones that tell us how “bad” or “unlovable” we are. These narratives have perhaps been running in our minds since we were kids. A consistent mindfulness practice can help change our relationship with the harsh perspectives our minds sometimes generate.

3. Good Will vs. Good Feelings

While self-compassion can be viewed as a conscious act of kindness we show ourselves, it is not a way to eliminate or avoid emotional pain. Life happens, and we cannot fully avoid negative emotions or sad feelings. Self-compassion is not a tool to avoid emotional discomfort; rather, it is a skill to help us develop a more effective relationship with our deep and rich emotional lives.

These are several ways to begin to cultivate self-compassion. If you would like to more deeply explore feelings of self-directed criticism and judgement and work toward a kinder, more gentle relationship with yourself in support of a more meaningful and fulfilling life, I invite you to call or email me to get started working together. Telehealth appointments are available.

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