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Self-compassion entails being warm and understanding toward ourselves when we suffer, fail, or feel inadequate, rather than ignoring our pain or flagellating ourselves with self-criticism. ~ Kristen Neff
We often believe that we have to fix ourselves in order to improve our self-esteem or self-confidence. If we could just know how to not get so stressed out, we would feel better about ourselves and others would like us more. However, the key is not to fix your flaws, but to be kind to them by cultivating self-compassion.
WHAT IS SELF-COMPASSION?
A concept that has its roots in Buddhism, self-compassion is a practice of recognizing that when you make a mistake, or fail at something, you may have made a bad decision but it does not mean you are a bad person.
WHY SELF-COMPASSION IS GOOD FOR YOU
Researchers have found that self-compassion and psychological well being are linked. We feel more connected with others, happier and more satisfied with life. Practicing self-compassion is linked to lower levels of depression, anxiety, shame and perfectionism.
Here are some tips to begin practicing self compassion:
Treat yourself as a good friend
When you think of a time that a close friend was struggling, how did you respond with compassion? You can write down what you said or did for them, and the tone you used to talk to them. Next, imagine using the same words, action and tone with yourself.
When you are experiencing stress, place your hands over your heart and apply gentle pressure. Take 2-3 deep breaths. When we are feeling discomfort, touch activates our parasympathetic nervous system
which helps us to calm down. If you are not comfortable with that form of gentle touch, practice lightly stroking your arm or clasping your hands together on your lap.
Take a self compassion break
On her website, self-compassion expert Kristen Neff provides several guided meditations and exercises to try, including a self compassion break. In this exercise, you are asked to acknowledge that you are suffering, and that you are not alone in your suffering. Then, you repeat a compassionate statement, like “May I be kind to myself” or “May I learn to accept myself the way I am.” Visit https://self-compassion.org.
Reach out for help
Be mindful that as you begin this process, old pain will surface. Self-compassion can be challenging and you do not have to do it alone. Give yourself permission to reach out for help. A professional such as a psychotherapist can provide a safe space to explore these difficulties and support your healing.
Reference: Neff, Kristen. “Self-Compassion.” Accessed on January 29, 2020. https://self-compassion.org/.
Amreeta is a Registered Social Worker, Psychotherapist and a Certified Daring Way Facilitator. She works with clients who are coping with stress, anxiety, depression, shame, perfectionism and self-worth. She also provides workshops around The Daring WayTM curriculum, based on the research by Brené Brown.
To book an appointment, contact Amreeta at 647-868-3508 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org (click on button below)
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Amreeta is a Registered Social Worker, and a Psychotherapist, who works with adults and teens in working with shame, and building self-confidence.