Relationships are one of our most important sources of well-being. When we are down or distressed, we turn to others (partners, friends, parents, children) for comfort and guidance. Our intimate relationships, along with the relationship that we have with ourselves, can bring us great joy and, at times, also disappointment. The way to navigate dealing with both circumstances is to have compassion. Not only compassion for others and the situation, but compassion for yourself.
Self-compassion is when you are aware and honest, with a willingness to be non-judgemental, towards yourself. No one in the world knows your feelings as well as you do. Because of this, you are the one most qualified person to bring compassion to yourself, which includes care, sensitivity, warmth, awareness, and kindness. Having compassion for yourself will help you to bring compassion to others and your relationships with acceptance, unconditional love, and understanding.
Bringing Mindful Self-Compassion Into Your Life
1. Remind yourself to slow down. Take notice of when you become irritable or angry, especially towards yourself. Meeting yourself where you are, rather where you think you should be, will help to you to accept the situation, calm yourself, and slow down.
2. Ask yourself how can you be happy right now. Enjoy what you want for the fact that you like it or the activity of it. This will help bring more awareness about yourself and what makes you happy.
3. When you make a mistake, it becomes a great opportunity to express compassion. Remember that we are all human and we probably will hurt someone or ourselves – it is part of the human experience. Taking responsibility for the mistake is a great example of using compassion towards yourself along with situation or person that was hurt.
4. Learn to generate a kind voice in your own head. Think of something that you do not like about yourself – as if you have a critic. What is the critic saying and what emotions are rising as you hear them? Invite and acknowledge all of these feelings and emotions, whatever they are – anger, sadness, fear, resentment, envy. Try not to judge any of it as they are simply just thoughts and feelings moving through you. It is neither bad nor good, just awareness. The compassionate self must be built – this is a great awareness exercise for building it up.
As you practice self-compassion, you will likely discover the awareness of being present. You will feel more freedom to show up as you are and a greater sense of well-being, for yourself and your relationships. Another wonderful outcome of practicing self-compassion is once you’ve experienced it for yourself, you will have it to share with others and it will flow automatically and effortlessly.