Human are social beings. We build networks with social relationships throughout our lives, create strong social bonds, and thrive off the connection we feel with other human beings. Such connections cause us to feel extreme care and concern for the well-being of our loved ones, and we find ourselves going out of our way to make sure that they are doing alright and feeling their best. It is easy to pour love and affection into the relationships we have with other people, and we have no qualms about going the extra mile to make sure they are feeling okay. But what about the relationship we have with ourselves?
A lot of the time, we find ourselves battling a harsh self-critic; a voice inside our heads that chides us whenever we falter, judging ourselves for our inadequacies, or criticizing ourselves whenever we make mistakes. But having compassion for ourselves should not be different from the compassion we show other people.
Self-compassion stems from the acknowledgment that discomfort, suffering, loosing control is a universally human experience that deserves understanding and time to process. Realizing that you deserve to speak to yourself with the same kind of honesty, respect and empathy as you would to a loved one is the first step towards developing self-compassion. Read on to find out how you can go about your self-compassion journey.
What is self-compassion?
Self-compassion comes from the understanding that our personal discomfort, pain, suffering or feelings of inadequacy is a universal human condition that requires as much warmth and understanding to work through. Instead of being self-critical or harsh on ourselves for falling short at times, recognizing that such imperfections and failure are unavoidable and inevitable allows us to develop self-empathy and self-acceptance that would in turn manifest as self-compassion.
How to better practice Self-Compassion
1. Write letters to yourself.
Writing letters to yourself about the times you fell short, made mistakes, or lost sight of your values can help you gain objective clarity over your emotions. Writing about instances where you found yourself being judgemental, harsh, or overly-critical to yourself can help remove feelings and put the situation and the circumstances surrounding your pain or discomfort at the forefront.
2. Take care of your body.
Feeling strong and safe in your own physical body often goes unacknowledged in self-care or in the pursual of self-compassion. Nourishing your body in turn nourishes your soul and mind. Feeding your body with the right foods, staying hydrated, and clocking in physical activity or exercise is a direct act of putting your body's needs first, in order to function and serve you well.
3. Self-validation and encouragement.
Think of what you would say to a good friend if he or she was facing a difficult or stressful situation. How would you go about consoling them and offering them solutions to their predicaments? After which, whenever you find yourself facing similar difficulties, direct the same form of compassion, understanding and objectivity towards yourself and go about problem-solving the same way.
4. Practice mindfulness.
There are multiple ways to practice mindfulness, that would serve the purpose of finding self-compassion and peace. Mindfulness requires quiet time and energy being directed inward, in order to be, do and say with intention. When you are mindful, you act, speak and carry yourself with intentional reasoning.
Meditating, journaling, starting the day with soothing music, decluttering your work and living space, preparing a meal for yourself on your own are some of the effective ways you can spend time with yourself to better prepare yourself to process negative feelings and situations.
If you are looking for a place to journal and gain some clarity on negative emotions, Journey has multiple in-app functions that can help facilitate this process for you. For instance, Journey comes with a mood tracker function. Together with journaling on the app, you have the ability to choose from 1 of the 5 mood options in your daily journal entries to keep track of your overall mood fluctuations.
Other acts of Self-Compassion
Treating yourself with kindness and adopting a nurturing attitude towards yourself can begin with simple pro-active steps and activities. These mental, emotional, and physical activities will allow you to stop and take a moment to process your emotions and objectively figure out what you can do next to alleviate your situation and discomfort. Such activities include :
- Practicing self-forgiveness; using self-talk and words that does not place guilt or shame on yourself.
- Adopting a growth mindset; recognizing every failure is an opportunity for growth and looking towards active steps and decisions you can make to do and be better.
- Being mindful of our inner self-critic and listening to that voice objectively.
- Taking care of our physical body through exercise, proper nutrition, and rest.
Self-Compassion Affirmations you can practice :
- "I fully accept both the best and worst parts of myself."
- "Change within me and around me is the only constant."
- "Mistakes are spaces for growth."
- "Mistakes are proof that I am trying, learning, and moving forward."
- "I can find comfort in discomfort."
- "I trust that I am always doing and giving my best."
- "I will seek my own validation, and not that of others."
- "Showing up is the first step."
- "My strengths and weaknesses work together."
- "My boundaries allow me to love myself and other people."
- "I care about myself, and want the best for me."
- "I have boundless potential."
- "Self-compassion is not self-indulgent, it is self-care."
- "I am worthy of pursing happiness."
- "Falling short is a universal human experience, and I am human."
- "I do not have to be 100% productive today to deserve kindness."
Self-compassion comes from self-acceptance, and acknowledging that we are whole as we are right now. You deserve your own love and affection as much as a loved one in your life. Recognizing this sets you on the right path towards being kinder and more loving towards yourself. We hope that this article and the functions that Journey has can help you get a better understanding of how you can go about developing self-compassion and fulfilling your full potential!
Sending love and positive energy your way!