Being kind to you
Self-compassion is treating yourself with the same kindness and care you’d treat a friend. Self-compassion is not self- indulgence, self-pity, or self-esteem.
It’s a skill you can learn and practice. You do the practice in exactly the same way you practice compassion towards another person. Firstly, notice your suffering. Secondly, allow yourself to feel what you’re feeling. Thirdly, recognise that you are human. All humans make mistakes and have bad things happen to them. And finally, turn towards yourself with an attitude of kindness and care.
Applying self-compassion to your life
When you are having a difficult time, fail, or notice something you don’t like about yourself, try self-compassion. Instead of just ignoring your pain with a “stiff upper lip” mentality, pause and say to yourself “this is really difficult right now,” and ask, “how can I comfort and care for myself in this moment?”
Instead of mercilessly judging and criticizing yourself for various inadequacies or shortcomings, speak kindly and with understanding when confronted with personal failings. Who said you were supposed to be perfect?
You may try to change in ways that allow you to be more healthy and happy, but do this because you care about yourself, not because you feel worthless or unacceptable as you are. Perhaps most importantly, having compassion for yourself means that you honour and accept your humanness.
Things will not always go the way you want them to. You will encounter frustrations, losses will occur, you will make mistakes, bump up against your limitations, fall short of your ideals. This is the human condition, a reality shared by all of us.
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