Self-Compassion might sound like a luxury for you, like something you have to work hard to earn, or maybe something only selfish people have.
If this is the case, please take the time to read this article!
In the same way, as relationships with your friends, partner, and family become deeper and more meaningful when you treat them with compassion, the relationship you have with yourself will become healthier, stronger, and kinder when you treat yourself with compassion.
So, what is Self-Compassion?
I want to start by talking about, what self-compassion is not:
"How can I be so stupid, I should have known that I'll fail again!"
"This dress looks so terrible on me, no wonder with this body.
"I always screw up, of course, no one really loves me!"
Does this sound familiar to you?
Do you have thoughts around these lines, where you maximize what you don't like about yourself, maybe even add some untrue conclusions, and as a result feel bad about yourself?
If so, let me ask you:
Would you talk like this with your best friend?
Chances are high you would not because you know that these statements are harsh, painful, not true, and also you care about your friend, with compassion and want your friend to feel good, to be confident, to like themselves!
How Self-Compassion looks like
Self-Compassion means you talk kindly to yourself, even when you detect a "flaw" or make a "mistake." (Self-Compassion will help you understand that in fact, there is no such thing as mistakes, but rather opportunities to learn and grow)
Self-Compassion consists of:
Knowing that you are not alone, not isolating yourself but allowing connection
Self-Care (physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual)
Self-Compassion has nothing to do with Self-Pity. It does not mean you are suffering about what you are feeling, but that you acknowledge it and give space and permission to feel what you are feeling, without ignoring or repressing it.
Why is it easier to share compassion with our loved ones than with ourselves?
Sadly, it can be so much easier to talk kind to our friends, to be understanding and gentle with others, while the own inner self-talk is so harsh and strict!
I know this from myself, I have the tendency to be much more strict on myself than I would be to others, but now, this tendency is far less strong than it used to be years ago because I practice self-compassion and by doing so, increased my confidence and improved my self-image!
Knowing where this tendency, to talk harsh and critical to oneself, comes from, will help you to break this cycle and to change unhelpful and unempowering thoughts into helpful and empowering ones.
The so-called "Inner Critic" is the result of past experiences and most of all how you interpreted them.
I want to show you 2 different ways of interpretations:
A partner broke up with you:
A) I am not loveable, I am not pretty, smart, sexy enough, no one will ever really love me
B) It hurts but I will get past this, we were not meant to be together and I'll find the right partner for me
Rejection from a Job-Interview
A) I am not smart and skilled enough, I'll never find a good job and I don't even deserve it!
B) I'll prepare better next time and it might not have been the right position for me, I'll find the right position for me.
Do you notice the difference? Same experience, two different ways of interpreting them.
How do you interpreter past experiences?
Are these interpretations serving you, are they true?
How to become more Self-Compassionate
The next time when you feel strong and unpleasant emotion or have a self-judging thought, follow these steps:
1. Identify what you are feeling
Start sensing your physical sensations and what you are feeling in your body
Where are you feeling the emotion the most?
What emotion is it?
Don't identify with what you are feeling, instead of saying:
I am angry, anxious.... -> I feel angry, anxious...
2. Allow and appreciate what you are feeling
Remember that what you are feeling is here to serve you, to send you a message
Remember that your emotions are neither wrong nor right, neither good nor bad
Allow the emotions, feeling, and thoughts to be there, without judgment
Say to this emotion: "I see you", "It's okay", "Thank you for being here"
3. Get curious about the message behind your emotion
Approach this gentle investigation with a "beginners mind", ask yourself
"What could this mean"?
"What wants my intention the most"?
"What am I believing that leads to this emotion?"
"What does this vulnerable place want or need from me?"
Operate out of your heart, be gentle with yourself:
What does this vulnerable part of you need, which emotional wound got touched, which boundary
got crossed, or what is your inner child scared about?
4. Connect with your heart and your strength
"What does your heart tell you"
"What does your heart feel"
Share loving-kindness with yourself, with this fear, sadness, pain, frustration
"I am safe"
"I am protected"
"I am loved"
Is Self-Compassion selfish or egoistic?
When clients disclose that they find it difficult to be kind to themselves or even to love themselves because it might make them selfish, I like to share the following with them:
"If I, Janina, as your therapist and coach, would not be compassionate to myself, would not accept and love myself, I could not give you my full and non-judgmental attention. I could not be empathic and help you to become more self-compassionate.
Because I can only share with you what I have for myself in the first place. Does this make me selfish and egoistic? No, it does not. I am compassionate to myself to be better support for others, to set my boundaries so that I have the energy for people I care about and don't get energy drained by people who are not good and healthy for me.
I can say wholeheartedly:
SELF-COMPASSION IS NOT SELFISH, IS IS THE WAY TO A HEALTHY AND FULFILLED LIFE!
If you have any questions and want to find out how you can bring more self-compassion into your life, get in touch and send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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