Steps to Self Compassion

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Make Peace with Yourself. People often say the most important relationship you’ll ever have is the one with yourself. You’re with yourself all the time. Why not work on making it the best it can be? The relationship you have with yourself is unlike any other connection you’ll ever have, whether it’s with a spouse, parent, grandparent, child, or even a twin sibling.

More than likely, one person criticizes you more than anyone – yourself. Although a common problem, self-criticism is vital to correct because it can negatively affect your self-worth.

Christine Arylo says, “Be nice to yourself. It’s hard to be happy when someone is mean to you all the time.”

Destructive self-criticism is fixable through counseling. It can:

1. Make you feel more comfortable with yourself

2. Offer you perspective

3. Allow you a safe place to be vulnerable

4. Provide you with additional coping tools

5. Extinguish your fear of failure

6. Comfortable with Yourself

Many people place a stigma on counseling and see it as something you do because you’re weak. Simply not true. We work out, eat food that is good for us to maintain and strengthen our body. Counseling does the same thing for our minds that almost nothing else can.

Being comfortable with yourself means admitting your strengths and weaknesses. Everyone has them, and counseling can help shed light on where you may need to focus your efforts.

Counseling can offer you an unbiased perspective on your life and what’s happening around you. It’s very easy for anyone to get caught up in life’s everyday details and frustrations. Counseling helps you see the world through different eyes and offers you better ways of coping.

Counseling helps us:

1. Realize we’re not alone

2. Feel connected and ask for assistance when we need it

3. Reframe our thoughts and look at the bigger picture

4. Avoid getting bogged down with the technicalities

5. Let Go of Outside Validation

Our negative thinking can come from how others perceive us. Social pressures to look a certain way or keep up a certain weight can make us angry at ourselves. What we can do instead is to practice self-kindness by avoiding tying our happiness to outside influences.

Treat Yourself Like You’d Treat a Friend. We can’t always be there for everyone we care about when they’re in pain. You can offer your support, acknowledge that the pain exists, and help them move on and grow from the experience.

When we’re comforting a friend, we use different language and gestures to demonstrate our compassion. We do things like hold their hand, offer a hug, or give them a gentle pat on the back. Think about these ways of showing your compassion for others and provide those same things to yourself when you’re feeling vulnerable.

Vulnerable, but Safe. Most counselors dig deep into how you feel, but also why you think the way you do. Doing so can make us feel vulnerable, but if you’ve ever been to counseling, you know it’s a safe space and a safe place to express your deepest feelings.

Aim to Be More Self-Aware. Some people don’t find positive affirmations to be helpful. Instead, try using ‘releasing statements.’ These statements are wonderful tools to practice detaching yourself without judgment. Instead of thinking, “I’m a terrible person for getting angry,” try using a releasing statement to release yourself from the feeling. Rather, say to yourself, “It’s ok that I felt angry.”

Part of the reason we go to counseling is to add to our emotional toolbox. Often, one of the reasons we seek counseling initially is that we don’t have the tools or have forgotten about the ones we have. Counseling can gently remind us of those tools and that we have options to cope in a healthier way.

Fear of Failure Be Gone. It’s easy to play negative loops in your head that repeat themselves again and again. People fail every day. It’s a fact of life, but it doesn’t mean that you’re not a wonderful person with good things to come.

Talk to anyone who’s had success in their business, their job, or their personal life. You can be sure that they’ve had plenty of failures too. Failures teach us what to do and how to think differently and have a fulfilling life.

Forgiveness Takes Practice. We all make mistakes, every day, many times a day. It’s how we learn. No one is perfect, and neither are you, and it’s detrimental to punish yourself for your missteps. Be gentle and talk to yourself the way you’d speak to a loved one. Who you are as a person is what your friends and family appreciate the most, not the successes or failures you’ve had.

You are worthy of love, not because you’re perfect or need to uphold someone else’s standards. You’re deserving of love just because you’re you.

A Proper Mindset Needs Nurturing. It’s pretty easy to shift your thinking to what might happen in the future and what happened in the past. Neither of these mindsets is helpful to your well-being. Instead, think about what’s happening right now and enjoying what you have right in front of you. You can create success or failure, and the choice is up to you.

If you feel stuck because of challenges up ahead, use it as an opportunity to break through these obstacles. Doing so can create massive amounts of growth. You may see many mountains to climb, but also consider the ones you’ve conquered to get to where you are right now.

Success Can Create Fear. Just like the fear of failing, there’s an opposite feeling, and that’s fear of success. Sometimes when things are going well, we sabotage it without even realizing it. Maybe it makes you nervous when life is fantastic, and then when something falls through, you think to yourself, you were waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Maybe you’re on the verge of progress, and then bam! It falls apart. If you have these things occur over and over again, it isn’t fate. It can be a fear of success.

Give Thanks. Employing a gratitude journal can be very powerful in showing you how to enjoy and appreciate what you have in front of you right now. Writing down things to be thankful for every day can be eye-opening and help create inner peace.

Thank you notes are a great way to show your gratitude towards another person, but did you know you can also try this strategy for yourself?

Find a quiet space. Reflect on the fantastic things you’ve done in the last week to promote self-growth.

Write the thank you note, sign it, and seal it.

Ask a trusted friend to mail it to you in a month. You’ll be surprised at what you discover.

Be Comfortable with Generosity

Raj Raghunathan (2016) has identified three different reciprocity styles: giver, taker, and matcher. Some think that givers are the most generous and therefore is an excellent way of applying compassion. However, being a giver can have drawbacks because you must ensure that you meet your needs first; otherwise, this can put your happiness and success at risk.

Helping others can make you feel good because you’re doing good. You can often see the changes that happen when you’re generous, but don’t forget to be generous to yourself as well.

Be Mindful.

In his article “The Mindfulness Movement: How A Buddhist Practice Evolved Into a Scientific Approach to Life,” Matthew Nisbett says, “The concept of “mindfulness” traces to the Pali words sati, which in the Indian Buddhist tradition implies awareness, attention, or alertness, and vipassana, which means insight cultivated by meditation.

Mindfulness has become more popular in the last decade and can offer benefits like:

1. Objectivity

2. Mental clarity

3. Ability to relate to yourself and others with kindness, acceptance, and compassion

Allow yourself to think and feel whatever you need to at the moment. Once you do, let your feelings come, and let them go, just as quickly. It’s essential to be able to do both because not letting yourself be mindful robs you of being able to:

1. Reduce your stress

2. Boost your working memory

3. Have less emotional reactivity

4. Have more satisfying relationships

5. Increase your immune function

6. Gain insight

7. Benefit from intuition

“We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.”

- Dalai Lama XIV

You deserve to love yourself and to be loved. Difficult emotions may arise, and that’s ok as long as you realize you have the tools to understand them, work through your feelings, and learn from them.

You’re human. You’re allowed to make mistakes. Find ways to do things differently in the future. Be thankful you’re allowing yourself to change and for your tenacity to try again. Accept yourself for who you are today. You’re not perfect; maybe you could’ve done better. More than likely, you did just fine, and many times, that’s more than enough.