It is often true that we tell ourselves things, have thoughts about ourselves that we would never in a million years say to someone else. We beat ourselves up, making depression worse and increasing insecurities. Having self-compassion is another way to build healthy self-esteem. People who are compassionate toward themselves are generally more happy, resilient, optimistic and motivated in their own lives. When your inner voice puts you down, you end up in negative cycles - repeating these self-sabotaging thoughts that feed into depression and anxiety. When your inner voice plays a supportive role (think how you would speak with a best friend) you feel safe and accepting EVEN during moments of "mistakes" or personal "failings".
So self-compassion, cool, great. How do I do this, you're saying. It begins with training your inner voice to be compassionate and supportive, understanding instead of harsh and judgmental. This week, try to catch these thoughts running through your mind that are judgmental, or critical and stop them in their tracks. Replace them with supportive thoughts - I can do this, it's going to be ok, I deserve to take a break, etc.
Self-compassion, self-kindness has three main components; kindness, common humanity and mindfulness;
Kindness – simple concept, difficult to DO for ourselves. What would you say to a best friend? How would you respond to someone you love if they came to you with the issue or worry that you’re having? Give yourself this same support and love – what you need is no different from what they need in their moment of doubt or struggle.
Common humanity – we’re all human and therefore all imperfect. Why tear yourself up over a misstep or an imperfection when this is what makes you who you are, this is what makes you human like everyone else. This is where you learn and grow. We can’t learn or grow from doing everything right 100% of the time.
Mindfulness – this is keeping our mind in the present moment, it’s defined as the clear seeing and acceptance of what is happening in the moment you’re in. It’s keeping your mind from time traveling forward or backward – it’s keeping it steady. You can be aware of a feeling in a moment and no judge it.
How can you practice self-compassion this week?