This year has brought on an immense amount of stress on all of us. Yet, for some reason, we still have high expectations of ourselves. I know you still had goals for yourself and I know that new year’s resolution list wasn’t made for nothing. Those goals don’t go away just when you give yourself a break. Instead of self-criticism, which asks if you’re good enough, let’s try self-compassion, which asks, “what’s good for you?”
What Is Self-Compassion?
The name says it all.
Self-compassion is the act of showing oneself love, care, support, and compassion in times of failure, general inadequacies, or suffering of any other kind. It entails being warm towards oneself, providing internal safe space for yourself to feel loved when things are not going as they should.
The discussion on self-compassion becomes very important not because we lack ways to be compassionate as humans. It is, rather, because we cannot often show this compassion to ourselves.
For example, it is easy for us to show up for someone who is going through a tough time with reassuring words. When we are in the same shoes, our minds are often overwhelmed by the negative situation that it drowns out all the warmth that we should be drawing ourselves into also.
Why You Need Self-Compassion
If you need more convincing on why you need to purposefully focus on your self-compassion, though, self-esteem is a great place to start from.
Self-esteem issues do not always stem from external negative feedback. A measure of internal bullying would have happened to build the platform on which such external comments nest.
A contributor to such internal bullying is a lack of self-compassion.
Constantly berating yourself for not getting things right, beating yourself up for mistakes, and hating yourself for errors anyone can make is an example of internal bullying
When you learn to accept yourself and provide solace to yourself in these times, you will develop a more positive outlook on such things. Then, you can repel external factors better and have better self-esteem to show for it.
With high self-esteem comes improved productivity, a better quality of life, and a sense of security, among other things. It is interesting how all of that is tied back to self-compassion, underlining how important this is at all.
Now is as good a time as any to become more compassionate towards yourself.
You might not know it, but you might also not be actively putting yourself first or being compassionate enough to yourself.
Before you get started, you must be committed to mindfully practicing all that will take you to a higher level of self-compassion. Once that is established, do these:
- Acceptance – Tell yourself that no one is perfect, and believe that. We will make mistakes from time to time; we will fall short of our expectations at times too. That does not make us less of a person or less good than we were yesterday. This is a phase that will pass too.
- Practice kindness – It is easy to do this externally. It is time to start being kind internally too. Identify when you are feeling down (from inadequacy, insecurity, emotional/ physical pain, etc) and respond to yourself with warmth. Don’t beat yourself up. Talk to yourself like you would a friend, dropping reassuring words in the process.
- Develop a Network – The fact that we are discussing self-compassion does not mean that you cannot bring people in on it. Know your loved ones that you can depend on for comfort in times like this and reach out to them. Taking yourself to seek solace in them is another important kind of self-compassion
- Ignore Others – You cannot pour from an empty cup. You could be the warm person in the group whom everyone reaches out to when they are down. Sometimes, that becomes draining. Never put up a fake front to be there for others when you need time off for yourself also.
- Done vs To-Do – Looking at a long pile of things to do could demotivate you. What will encourage you, however, is a list of things that you have gotten done. Make a ‘Done’ list and pat yourself on the back for how far you’ve come. Such a list will encourage you to add more ‘done’ items, so your to-do list benefits from all of that self-compassion too.
Get Started Today
The best time to get started with self-compassion was yesterday. Fortunately, today is another fine day to start.