Self-compassion is the ability to notice when you are suffering and to meet the pain you feel with kindness, understanding and caring. Rather than numbing the pain or meeting it with self-judgement and self-criticism, you remember that suffering, mistakes, imperfections, failure and rejection are part of the human experience and that you deserve comfort, warmth and belonging like everybody else.
As you embark on the journey to self-discovery and developing and expressing your unique potential, you will inevitably come across some things about yourself that you do not like, that you may judge as inadequacies, shortcomings or failures. Other people might not like your journey and start to criticize you. If you let yourself be influenced by other people or treat yourself harshly, you will abandon your journey and deny yourself the happiness that you rightfully deserve as a member of the human race. So please be kind and gentle to yourself when times get a little tough, remember that you are not alone in this experience and that you are not your (or somebody else’s) negative thoughts and emotions.
Here are 5 pathways to self-compassion:
- Physically (soften body & breath, eat, sleep, exercise, take a bath, get some sun, go for a massage,…)
- Mentally (observe your criticising thoughts & find a counterpart, give your thoughts space without getting ‘hooked’ on them, find a mantra, Loving Kindness meditation,..)
- Emotionally (label your negative emotions in order to tame them, foster positive emotions,…)
- Relationally (spend time with people that support you and lift you up,…)
- Spiritually (cultivate your values – what is important to you, rather than adopting the values of your culture/family. What brings meaning to your life?…)