3 Tips to Self-Compassion

(February 2, 2022)

Are you inwardly suffering? 

There are days when we do not want anyone to notice or sit with us through our suffering.  We just want to be left alone, because we feel it is too big, too small, or just embarrassing.  Maybe it is a moral, relational, work, schooling, or parenting fail.  We have the choice to announce it all on social media for the world to see or keep it bottled up.  

How do you handle life’s failures?  Just thinking about them can create negative thoughts of yourself.  We begin to label ourselves through the circumstance or in our response.  Even through the circumstance or response we tend to give others the compassion that they need in that moment, but why not ourselves?

What is self-compassion? 

Self-compassion can be explained through self-kindness, understanding common humanity, and being mindful.  Benefits to self-compassion can affect the overall health of our emotional well being.  Exploring our thoughts and emotions can take not only a break from the unrealistic idea that we are to be perfect and we are not allowed to fail, but creates a space to identify what our mind is obsessing over.  When our mind begins to obsess it creates a cycle or a loop that continues to play out in our brain…over and over again.  Being able to identify the parts of the cycle is the beginning of being able to rewire our brain into a healthier mindset.    

Self-kindness vs. Self-judgment

Self-kindness opens the door to know that we are imperfect and we will not always get it right.  It allows ourselves to focus on identifying those moments as difficult instead of criticizing and creating negative self-talk.  It teaches us to be gentle and sympathetic to ourselves as we are with others.

Common humanity vs. Isolation

Understanding humanity is acknowledging the imperfections that go along with life too.  As we are imperfect individuals, we also all deal with different forms of suffering.  This creates an understanding that we all fail and make mistakes, rather than the idea that we are alone in this and this only happens to me. 

Mindfulness vs. Over-identification

When experiencing suffering it is important to find the balance of how to handle emotions.  It can become easy to either suppress the emotions or allow the negative thoughts to take over.  Finding the space that allows us to be mindful of the pain that exists while also having compassion is the key.  

“Instead of mercilessly judging and criticizing yourself for various inadequacies or shortcomings, self-compassion means you are kind and understanding when confronted with personal failings – after all, who ever said you were supposed to be perfect?”  Dr. Kristin Neff

Mindfulness has been around for thousands of years. 

It has been studied by the Eastern culture and their traditions.  Being mindful promotes self awareness.  It allows you to sit in the emotions that exist in that moment and be present with them.  It acknowledges and then creates the space for self-compassion to act and not to ruminate on the negative experience.  Self-compassion takes on the action in your mind to normalize the human experience. 

Identifying that all humans have the same exact emotions, just different circumstances, creates an understanding that we are not alone in this world.   This can be true for those in the developmental stage of adolescents who are dealing with low self-worth and self-judgement.  Allowing yourself, or your teen to understand that they are not alone on their journey can change the trajectory of possible addiction, violence, and school issues.  Through the process of joining together mindfulness and self-compassion it can create opportunities for building a better sense of self and better relationships with others.  

If you need help with self-compassion, email or call us at (217) 203-2008 to schedule an appointment.

Sources:

https://self-compassion.org/the-three-elements-of-self-compassion-2/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4198323/

Below is a Quiz to test your self-compassion:

https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/quizzes/take_quiz/self_compassion