Self-compassion: Be Kind to You

Posted Dec 28, 2015

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Summary

Self-compassion is:

  • Self-kindness
  • Common humanity
  • Mindfulness

Want to build a better you? Being kind to others can make you feel great. But being kind and gracious to yourself is something that no one can do better than, well, you. It’s called self-compassion.

The practice of self-compassion is developed in the same way as caring for others. The term compassion means to “suffer with,” so it’s essentially having empathy for yourself. The concept is to be as forgiving with yourself as you would be to others.

Elements of self-compassion

Dr. Kristen Neff, Associate Professor of Human Development and Culture at the University of Texas at Austin, is an expert on self-compassion. According to her findings in her aptly-titled book, Self-compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind, there are three tenants to follow:

  1. Self-kindness. This is the concept of expecting that you will make mistakes. When those mistakes come, it’s acknowledging them, brushing yourself off and moving on.
  2. Common humanity. It’s knowing that you are human and by definition, you are not perfect. But more than that; you are not alone in this imperfection.  
  3. Mindfulness. The state of mindfulness is being aware of what is going on in the present moment. You are receptive to all feelings—good and bad—and try to be nonjudgmental about them. This state allows yourself to see whatever the issue is as a bigger picture.

Curious about how self-compassionate you are? You can take Dr. Neff’s quiz here. This will help you see how many of the elements above are already incorporated within your own life.

Ways to build in more self-compassion

Now that you are more aware of how self-compassionate you are or are not, what can you do to make it more so? Luckily, there are some very easy and pleasurable exercises to help.

Do unto yourself as you would do unto others. Sometimes it feels easier to have compassion for others. Switch this way of thinking around and turn a kind eye on yourself.

Take a mindfulness break. Acknowledge what you are feeling in the moment and recognize that you are not alone in feeling this way. Others have been there too. Think about what someone else could say to you to help you feel better, and say it to yourself.

This can be done by thinking about what a loved one or friend would say to make you feel better—even if they are no longer in your life. What wise words would your grandfather say? Or how would your easy-going best friend from high school respond to your situation? You can also keep a self-compassion journal to keep track of your feelings, good and bad.

No more negative self-talk. Whether you are speaking out loud or internally to yourself, make sure that your voice is full of love, caring and positivity. We tend to internalize our inner dialogue and make that script happen. If you change it to a positive outcome, you are more likely to experience that within your day-to-day life. You can also think about how those encouraging people in your life—past or present—have made you feel better over time and try and adopt that voice.

Try and identify what you want out of life and make it happen through love rather than fear. Again, how has a mentor or friend helped motivate you in the past?

And finally, take good care of others and you. It’s not realistic to go through life without some kind of caregiving to children, aging parents, or even a chronically ill partner or friend. But make sure to take the time to assure yourself that you are there for you, and that you can get through this stressful period, whatever it might be.

Remember to love and care for yourself. You are your own best advocate and know exactly what is needed for the best you. Trust in your own resources to be able to better find that balance.

Resource

Self-compassion
http://self-compassion.org/

By Andrea Rizzo, MFA
Source: American Psychological Association's "Golden rule redux." (2011) http://apa.org/monitor/2011/07-08/golden-rule.aspx. World of Psychology's "Paying It Forward." (2014) http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2014/03/31/paying-it-forward/. Self-compassion.org's "What Is Self-compassion?" http://self-compassion.org/the-three-elements-of-self-compassion-2/.

Summary

Self-compassion is:

  • Self-kindness
  • Common humanity
  • Mindfulness

Want to build a better you? Being kind to others can make you feel great. But being kind and gracious to yourself is something that no one can do better than, well, you. It’s called self-compassion.

The practice of self-compassion is developed in the same way as caring for others. The term compassion means to “suffer with,” so it’s essentially having empathy for yourself. The concept is to be as forgiving with yourself as you would be to others.

Elements of self-compassion

Dr. Kristen Neff, Associate Professor of Human Development and Culture at the University of Texas at Austin, is an expert on self-compassion. According to her findings in her aptly-titled book, Self-compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind, there are three tenants to follow:

  1. Self-kindness. This is the concept of expecting that you will make mistakes. When those mistakes come, it’s acknowledging them, brushing yourself off and moving on.
  2. Common humanity. It’s knowing that you are human and by definition, you are not perfect. But more than that; you are not alone in this imperfection.  
  3. Mindfulness. The state of mindfulness is being aware of what is going on in the present moment. You are receptive to all feelings—good and bad—and try to be nonjudgmental about them. This state allows yourself to see whatever the issue is as a bigger picture.

Curious about how self-compassionate you are? You can take Dr. Neff’s quiz here. This will help you see how many of the elements above are already incorporated within your own life.

Ways to build in more self-compassion

Now that you are more aware of how self-compassionate you are or are not, what can you do to make it more so? Luckily, there are some very easy and pleasurable exercises to help.

Do unto yourself as you would do unto others. Sometimes it feels easier to have compassion for others. Switch this way of thinking around and turn a kind eye on yourself.

Take a mindfulness break. Acknowledge what you are feeling in the moment and recognize that you are not alone in feeling this way. Others have been there too. Think about what someone else could say to you to help you feel better, and say it to yourself.

This can be done by thinking about what a loved one or friend would say to make you feel better—even if they are no longer in your life. What wise words would your grandfather say? Or how would your easy-going best friend from high school respond to your situation? You can also keep a self-compassion journal to keep track of your feelings, good and bad.

No more negative self-talk. Whether you are speaking out loud or internally to yourself, make sure that your voice is full of love, caring and positivity. We tend to internalize our inner dialogue and make that script happen. If you change it to a positive outcome, you are more likely to experience that within your day-to-day life. You can also think about how those encouraging people in your life—past or present—have made you feel better over time and try and adopt that voice.

Try and identify what you want out of life and make it happen through love rather than fear. Again, how has a mentor or friend helped motivate you in the past?

And finally, take good care of others and you. It’s not realistic to go through life without some kind of caregiving to children, aging parents, or even a chronically ill partner or friend. But make sure to take the time to assure yourself that you are there for you, and that you can get through this stressful period, whatever it might be.

Remember to love and care for yourself. You are your own best advocate and know exactly what is needed for the best you. Trust in your own resources to be able to better find that balance.

Resource

Self-compassion
http://self-compassion.org/

By Andrea Rizzo, MFA
Source: American Psychological Association's "Golden rule redux." (2011) http://apa.org/monitor/2011/07-08/golden-rule.aspx. World of Psychology's "Paying It Forward." (2014) http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2014/03/31/paying-it-forward/. Self-compassion.org's "What Is Self-compassion?" http://self-compassion.org/the-three-elements-of-self-compassion-2/.

Summary

Self-compassion is:

  • Self-kindness
  • Common humanity
  • Mindfulness

Want to build a better you? Being kind to others can make you feel great. But being kind and gracious to yourself is something that no one can do better than, well, you. It’s called self-compassion.

The practice of self-compassion is developed in the same way as caring for others. The term compassion means to “suffer with,” so it’s essentially having empathy for yourself. The concept is to be as forgiving with yourself as you would be to others.

Elements of self-compassion

Dr. Kristen Neff, Associate Professor of Human Development and Culture at the University of Texas at Austin, is an expert on self-compassion. According to her findings in her aptly-titled book, Self-compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind, there are three tenants to follow:

  1. Self-kindness. This is the concept of expecting that you will make mistakes. When those mistakes come, it’s acknowledging them, brushing yourself off and moving on.
  2. Common humanity. It’s knowing that you are human and by definition, you are not perfect. But more than that; you are not alone in this imperfection.  
  3. Mindfulness. The state of mindfulness is being aware of what is going on in the present moment. You are receptive to all feelings—good and bad—and try to be nonjudgmental about them. This state allows yourself to see whatever the issue is as a bigger picture.

Curious about how self-compassionate you are? You can take Dr. Neff’s quiz here. This will help you see how many of the elements above are already incorporated within your own life.

Ways to build in more self-compassion

Now that you are more aware of how self-compassionate you are or are not, what can you do to make it more so? Luckily, there are some very easy and pleasurable exercises to help.

Do unto yourself as you would do unto others. Sometimes it feels easier to have compassion for others. Switch this way of thinking around and turn a kind eye on yourself.

Take a mindfulness break. Acknowledge what you are feeling in the moment and recognize that you are not alone in feeling this way. Others have been there too. Think about what someone else could say to you to help you feel better, and say it to yourself.

This can be done by thinking about what a loved one or friend would say to make you feel better—even if they are no longer in your life. What wise words would your grandfather say? Or how would your easy-going best friend from high school respond to your situation? You can also keep a self-compassion journal to keep track of your feelings, good and bad.

No more negative self-talk. Whether you are speaking out loud or internally to yourself, make sure that your voice is full of love, caring and positivity. We tend to internalize our inner dialogue and make that script happen. If you change it to a positive outcome, you are more likely to experience that within your day-to-day life. You can also think about how those encouraging people in your life—past or present—have made you feel better over time and try and adopt that voice.

Try and identify what you want out of life and make it happen through love rather than fear. Again, how has a mentor or friend helped motivate you in the past?

And finally, take good care of others and you. It’s not realistic to go through life without some kind of caregiving to children, aging parents, or even a chronically ill partner or friend. But make sure to take the time to assure yourself that you are there for you, and that you can get through this stressful period, whatever it might be.

Remember to love and care for yourself. You are your own best advocate and know exactly what is needed for the best you. Trust in your own resources to be able to better find that balance.

Resource

Self-compassion
http://self-compassion.org/

By Andrea Rizzo, MFA
Source: American Psychological Association's "Golden rule redux." (2011) http://apa.org/monitor/2011/07-08/golden-rule.aspx. World of Psychology's "Paying It Forward." (2014) http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2014/03/31/paying-it-forward/. Self-compassion.org's "What Is Self-compassion?" http://self-compassion.org/the-three-elements-of-self-compassion-2/.

The information provided on the Achieve Solutions site, including, but not limited to, articles, quizzes, and other general information, is for informational purposes only and should not be treated as medical, health care, psychiatric, psychological or behavioral health care advice. Nothing contained on the Achieve Solutions site is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or as a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care professional. Please direct questions regarding the operation of the Achieve Solutions site to Web Feedback. If you have concerns about your health, please contact your health care provider.  ©2017 Beacon Health Options, Inc.

 

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