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Self Compassion – Be Kind to Yourself
What is self-compassion?
To be compassionate is to show concern, regard, and sympathy/empathy for others.
Having self-compassion is no different, yet it’s something that many of us struggle with. To be compassionate, you must be able to notice that someone is suffering or struggling. Without this awareness, you cannot feel compassion. Being compassionate involves being “moved” by another’s pain or plight – this brings forward emotions that trigger you to respond to their pain with love, understanding, and care, rather than judgement or criticism and harsh words. Suffering, failure, and imperfection is a common feature in life but through compassion we realise and understand it is a shared human experience. Everyone goes through it at some point in their lives.
Having self-compassion is the above, but directed inwardly, towards ourselves. It’s about noticing when we are in pain, suffering, have failed, or find something we dislike about ourselves and treating ourselves with kindness, understanding, comfort, and care.
How would you treat a friend?
Many people find it difficult to practice self-compassion, afterall, it really is difficult to turn off that inner voice of criticism and notice when we need some kindness ourselves.
One way in which we can practice self-compassion is to ask ourselves the following:
If my friend came to me with this, what would I say to them?
I guarantee it is not the same as what you would say to yourself. In this instance, it’s likely you would provide your friend with comfort, kindness, encouragement, and love.
To begin with, it may feel weird, hard, or even almost impossible to turn that advice inwards which is why we advocate getting the inside, out.
Next time you have something you’re struggling with, write it down. Underneath, write what you would say to a friend who came to you with that struggle. Walk away from the paper for a while and then come back to it, reread it, read it aloud, let it sink in, and be your own best friend, one full of kindness, compassion, and love. Save all of these notes somewhere safe, and revisit in the future.
How can we be more compassionate toward ourselves?
Be aware of our inner critic.
Asking ourselves this question: “Am I being too hard on myself?”
Practice more self-care without feeling guilt.
Ask “how would I treat a friend?”
Create a self-compassion jar with positive affirmations on each piece of paper within the jar.
We are guaranteed to have just one human being with us from the cradle to the grave. Ourselves. Of all the people we should be showing the care and compassion we show friends and loved ones, it should surely be us? So let’s try to be kind to ourselves and others.
The #BeKind hashtag was created to remind others to be kind on social media when anonymity can sometimes bring out the worst in people – however, we think the hashtag is a great reminder to #BeKind to ourselves too.
Author: Sammie, The Creative Mental Health Charity
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