Have you practiced any self-compassion lately? Showing ourselves compassion is strongly linked to our overall well-being. Compassion is when we recognize someone’s struggles and feel motivated to comfort or resolve those struggles.
So, when we think of self-compassion, it is an introspective way to look at our own struggles and comfort ourselves. It really boils down to giving ourselves the same kindness we give to those around us.
As we have navigated life within a pandemic, many of us have assumed more responsibilities than ever before. Parents with full-time careers have layered on full-time caretaker responsibilities as schools and daycares are disrupted. HR managers and executive leadership teams have taken on a much larger mental load of protecting employees and their families. Whatever the situation, generally the first people we begin to neglect are ourselves.
This is where self-compassion becomes such a powerful tool. Studies show that people who regularly exercise self-compassion are less likely to be depressed, anxious and over-stressed. When we comfort and soothe ourselves from our struggles, our brain actually sends positive messages throughout our body.
Ready to get started? Here are three steps to practicing self-compassion.
Step 1: Be Your Own Best Friend
Care for yourself the way you would care for others. We usually are understanding and empathetic of those around us, so apply that same understanding and empathy toward yourself. Stop telling yourself that you need to be perfect. You don’t need to be perfect. Be gentle with yourself when you are confronted with your shortcomings and give yourself grace. Realize that you do not need to be a certain way to be worthy.
Step 2: Release Judgment
Let the judgement go. One of the biggest elements of self-compassion is to release yourself from judgment. Instead of saying, “I’m a horrible person for getting angry about this issue,” release yourself to feel in the moment. There is no benefit to rehashing and criticizing yourself. Negative self-talk is detrimental to our overall well-being. It can perpetuate our struggles and contribute to a lack of confidence. Instead of being critical of our mistakes, release the judgment. And while you’re at it, release the judgment of others. Judging others does nothing — for them or for you.
Step 3: Gain Positive Perspective
Sometimes self-care is finding those people who will provide you guidance, feedback and affirmation. We don’t have to face our struggles alone. Leaning on others is a great way to reflect and receive guidance on our journeys. I like to call this your “wisdom council.” A wisdom council can help you find support when you aren’t finding it within yourself.
As you embark on your self-compassion journey, I encourage you to check in with yourself along the way. There are a few ways you can do this, but I think it’s important for you to choose a way that works well for you. You may find keeping a wellness journal where you log how you are feeling each day makes it easy for you to understand and evaluate your struggles. Maybe you aren’t a pen and paper person, but you could find a well-being app to log this information on your phone. Lean on your wisdom council. Or find an accountability partner to you check in weekly or monthly to talk through your journey.
We are all amazing people who deserve to see and feel that within ourselves. Let’s start giving ourselves the self-compassion we deserve.