Some of us are stuck in a cycle of self-criticism. Some people use it as a way to push and motivate themselves. But this self-sabotaging behavior can negatively impact mental health. And some people think that showing themselves compassion is weak, narcissistic, or selfish. But it’s not.
“If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.”
The reality of the situation is that we suffer too. So it would be unrealistic not to acknowledge this fact. We can simultaneously have compassion for ourselves and others at the same time. By recognizing our own suffering, we’re not claiming it to be more or less than anyone else’s. We’re not pitying ourselves. A healthy perspective about self-compassion means viewing our suffering as part of a common human experience.
We wouldn’t want anyone else to suffer, so why do we so willingly sit back and allow ourselves to?
Self-compassion can actually open the door to growth and change. Pain and suffering are great motivators. And if we can convince ourselves that it’s okay to make the necessary changes to end the pain, growth often follows.
Treat yourself the same as you would a loved one. Nix negative self-talk by practicing self-awareness. And as soon as you catch yourself, consider what you’d say to a loved one in this situation. Keep practicing replacing negativity with positivity until it becomes your normal.
Is something keeping you from self-compassion? Is there something that you just haven’t been able to forgive yourself for? If so, read this blog post: 10 Steps to Forgiving Yourself (+ 10 Journal Prompts). Most of us have something specific that we don’t like about ourselves. Journal about it from a place of compassion and empathy. It may help to step outside yourself for this journal exercise.
Connect with others who are going through the same thing. This will help you recognize your suffering as part of a common human experience, in addition to validating it. You will see that some people are way worse off, and some people aren’t. But also that you’re all equally deserving of compassion.
Be kind to yourself. Practice good self-care. Do something nice for yourself. Make time for things you enjoy. And give yourself something to look forward to each day, even if it’s small.
Practice mindfulness – the moment-to-moment, non-judgmental awareness of your thoughts, feelings, and environment. This will help you become more aware of your thought patterns and allow you to catch negativity as early as possible. So that you can replace it with positivity.
We’re all deserving of compassion, even our own.
How do you practice self-compassion?