Over the past decade self-compassion has been getting a lot of attention. Self-compassion consists of treating ourselves like we would treat a good friend: with kindness, love, and understanding. We are always quicker to overlook others faults than we are our own, but as we learn to be more gentle with ourselves, and not see it as a weakness but more as a strength, we become stronger and more successful in the long run.
The research done on self-compassion has shown benefits such as reducing anxiety and depression symptoms, decreasing stress and boosting your self-esteem. Having 2 young ones I know the days that I can practice self-forgiveness and remind myself that I am enough, I am a much happier and patient mom!
I am constantly talking about the importance of self-compassion with clients because it can be such a foreign state of mind to us. Naturally we are our own harshest critics, which is so damaging to our mental health. So what makes up self-compassion? Here are the basics…
Self-Compassion Involves 3 things:
Self-Kindness- Being kind and understanding when something goes wrong, as you would be to your good friend. Knowing that we are deserving of care and loving affirmations as anyone else is. Not being critical of ourselves when we don’t meet our self-imposed high standards.
Common Humanity- Remembering we are not alone in our mistakes and failures. Weakness is part of being a human, and actually is what we learn from and what brings us closer to others. Making mistakes is part of everyone’s everyday life.
Mindfulness- Being aware and accepting your emotions and feelings, without letting them take over. Recognize and validate the emotions as they come up for you, without over-identifying with them and letting them control your behavior.
So next time you feel like you are coming up short, or feel like everyone else has it all together, take a deep breath, give yourself a hug and remember succeeding in everything we do is NOT part of the human experience and its okay! You are loved and valued just the way you are. If you would like to know more, self-compassion.org is a great resource for more research and practices on self-compassion. -author Mauri Wilcox, LCSW