Our relationships with our partners, family and friends often take some effort to maintain as neglecting any aspect of one of our relationships can result in miscommunication, misunderstandings, hurt feelings, and resentment. Many factors go into making a relationship work, including what you do to take care of yourself during high stress moments. In this article, we are discussing self-compassion and the things that can make a significant difference to you and your partner.
What is self-compassion?
“Compassion is sensitivity to the suffering of self and others and a commitment to do something about it.” – Paul Gilbert
Self-compassion is a state of warm-hearted, connected presence during difficult moments in our lives. It provides emotional strength and resilience, allowing us to admit our shortcomings, forgive ourselves, motivate ourselves with encouragement, and care for others. Self-compassion is a skill that can be cultivated by anyone.
It is having mindfulness, common humanity and kindness towards oneself. Mindfulness is holding your own thoughts and feelings rather than suppressing or being carried away by them. Common humanity is the understanding that your feelings and experiences are not completely unique. No matter how hard we try to avoid or hide them, all of us have our ups and downs, and sometimes the downs include pain, frustration and disappointment. Being kind to yourself is not only providing comfort in the moment; it is also committing, whenever possible, to reducing future instances of such suffering.
How To Bring Self-Compassion Into Your Relationships
1. Remind yourself to slow down. Take notice of when you become irritable or angry when you are with your partner. Taking notice is the first step to making a change. 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 and your partner 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, in this case, our partner, 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.