Self-compassion is the ability to accept, understand, and love yourself. It is basically treating yourself as you would your family or friends: with kindness and empathy instead of self-judgment and criticism.
Since self-compassion entails understanding, forgiving, and accepting oneself unconditionally, many find it hard to develop and practice. They see it as a form of self-indulgence and self-pity.
Because of this, they do not include it in their repertoire of strategies for combating mental and emotional issues.
The importance of self-compassion, however, has been studied by psychologists and other specialists for many years and they have found out that it can relieve a number of mental health issues. These include insecurity or low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, and even posttraumatic stress.
Because of this, self-compassion is one of the essential traits you have to develop to improve and maintain your mental health.
Learning to be More Compassionate Towards Yourself
If you’re currently lacking in self-compassion, below are five tips that will help you cultivate it:
1. Be more forgiving
Regardless of how recent or old your mistakes are, stop punishing yourself for making them. Nobody is perfect; as such, don’t be too tough on yourself when you make an intentional or unintentional blunder.
Learn to keep yourself in check when you get a sense of self-worth from performance or perfection. Keep in mind that you are valued and respected by your family, friends, and colleagues for who you are and not because you are 100% flawless.
If you need to learn to be more self-forgiving, start by writing a short reminder on being gentle and kind to yourself on a sticky note. Place this on your monitor or in your wallet to remind yourself to be more forgiving.
2. Start treating yourself as you would young kids
There are many adults that do not have compassion for themselves at all. If you are in this situation, you will have difficulty recognizing what you need to love yourself better.
To overcome this, think about what a small child wants or needs when he or she is hurt. Think about what you can do to help and soothe the child.
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When you put in the same effort to find out what you specifically need to overcome your guilt or feelings of inadequacy, you will learn to be more empathic to yourself.
3. Make mindfulness a habit
Being mindful means achieving a state of non-judgmental awareness. It is a skill that will be of great help when you find yourself criticizing yourself or being affected by the criticisms of others.
When you heed these internal and external criticisms, you will start having more negative thoughts. And this will do nothing to boost your confidence and remove your anxieties.
To be an expert of mindfulness, practice being in the moment and being aware of your thoughts and feelings without judgment and labeling. Learn to listen to your “inner critic” without trying to change anything as well.
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Once you have the art of mindfulness down pat, you will be more accepting of your actual or perceived weaknesses. You can then choose to do something about them or leave them alone. Whatever you decide to do, you will still feel good about yourself.
4. Speak more kindly to yourself
Learning to speak to and think more kindly of yourself is one of the best ways you can start practicing self-compassion.
Your words and thoughts are powerful and will shape how you think and act. If you keep telling yourself that you are a loser, weak, and not worthy of forgiveness, you will soon start believing it.
Start focusing on your strengths and accomplishments and think of ways you can improve yourself. Be more encouraging of yourself as well. Don’t use your failures as reasons to avoid trying new things or doing the things you love.
5. Don’t stop doing something you love
Lastly, if you are struggling with self-pity or shame, you may perceive doing something you like as a reward you don’t deserve.
But no matter what your mistake or failure is, remember that you deserve to be happy. As such, continue doing the things you find joyful and uplifting.
When you allow yourself to experience happiness from doing a certain activity and continue doing so, you are practicing self-compassion.
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Self-compassion is something that everyone can learn. However, developing new patterns of thought and behavior is something that not everyone can do easily.
If you want to fully experience the benefits of self-compassion by cultivating the right habits and mindset, consider working with a therapist or life coach.
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