Do you tend to beat yourself up when things go wrong? If so, like most of us, you can use a little more self-compassion in your life.
What is Self-Compassion?
Self-compassion is having kindness, love, understanding and forgiveness toward yourself. If you think about self-esteem as being how we see and think of ourselves, self-compassion is more about how we treat ourselves. Self-compassion has been linked to greater well-being, including lower levels of anxiety and depression, better emotional coping skills and compassion for others. There are many established life coaches in London who specialize in relationship counselling and coaching.
If this sounds like something you would like to pursue, here are six ways to get you started:
Treat Yourself as You’d Treat Others
It’s often much easier to respond compassionately to others than it is to yourself. Every time you’re hard on yourself, stop and imagine you’re talking to a close friend instead. What would you say to that person? How would you treat them? When you find yourself in a difficult situation, be as kind to yourself as you would be to others.
Evaluate Yourself Honestly
To increase your self-compassion, try to honestly evaluate yourself, focusing on your actions and motivations. Take your intentions into account when you evaluate something that went wrong, rather than focusing on the results. This can help you to be gentler with yourself, and allows you to honestly examine your shortcomings or mistakes and forgive yourself, rather than looking for external validation.
Turn Your Inner Critic Into a Gentle Supporter
You might actually believe you need that inner critic to keep you motivated in life. We’re conditioned to think that this abusive-type of behavior is what gets results. Therefore, that’s how we tend to talk to ourselves when we’re pursuing a goal. But being compassionate with yourself allows for a much healthier, kinder motivation. People who are self-compassionate know that if they fail, the voice in their head will encourage them to learn from their mistake, shake it off, and then try again. There’s actually nothing motivating about criticizing yourself, because it makes you fear failure and lose faith in yourself.
Kind physical gestures have an immediate effect on our bodies and nervous system. Massage your own neck, feet, or hands. Give yourself a hug – try it! Anything you do to improve how you feel physically gives you a dose of self-compassion
Being mindful is about noticing what is happening in the moment without judging or labeling it. When we practice mindfulness, our thoughts tune into what we’re experiencing in the present moment, rather than rehashing the past or being fearful of what the future holds. Mindfulness has been found to have a positive impact on self-compassion as it has the tendency to lessen self-judgment. Even a quick exercise – such as recognizing that your thoughts and emotions are fleeting and do not define you – can be a great way to nurture and accept yourself.
Practice a Self-Loving Meditation
Meditation helps to retrain the brain, and in this way, self-compassionate gestures become more natural. A self-loving meditation uses words, phrases, images and feelings to evoke a loving kindness and friendliness toward oneself. To practice a self-loving meditation, repeat phrases such as:
- I accept myself as I am
- I am enough
- I am worthy of compassion and kindness
- I allow myself to make mistakes and to learn from those mistakes
- Like any human being, I have strengths and weaknesses, and that’s OK.
As you repeat these phrases to yourself, allow yourself to be filled with self-love, self-forgiveness, and self-compassion.
Other people deserve your compassion, but so do you. Give your self-compassion a boost by practicing the six strategies above, and build up habits of being kind and understanding to yourself, especially in tough moments. Live your best life by showing yourself compassion.