Learning to be kind to yourself.

Learning to be kind to yourself.

Learning to be kind to ourselves is a concept born from Buddhist psychology, which teaches the art of self-compassion. ie treating ourselves with the same care and kindness, that we would a family member or a dear friend.

We are all able to feel compassion for others, we empathise with their situation, offer love, kindness, and support, and try to alleviate their suffering. So why do we find it hard to offer ourselves that same level of compassion?

The truth is that many of us see self-compassion as a very selfish indulgence. However, self-indulgence is about allowing ourselves to have or do anything we want, with no regard for our personal wellbeing.

Self-compassion is not only about giving compassion to ourselves during times of perceived inadequacy, failure, or general suffering but also about being kind and mindful in everything we do.

In last Thursday’s post, we talked about the power of our thoughts and how positive thoughts can transform our lives. One topic was on the power of positive affirmations. How we talk to ourselves and the words we use with our internal voice are so important.

If we came across a friend who was crying, we wouldn’t tell them to stop crying and to stop being so silly… yet this is exactly the kind of language we often use for ourselves. Self-compassion is about using the same voice, language, and mindset for ourselves, as we would for our friends and family.

Three things to try daily and improve your self-compassion:

1. Embrace who you are.

We are very good at judging or criticising ourselves, we focus on the small mistakes we’ve made and come down pretty tough on ourselves. We can view ourselves as the only person in the whole world who is that stupid, careless, thoughtless and other such damaging words.

In truth, we are not alone in making mistakes… we are all imperfect, we all have faults… the beauty comes when we identify our mistakes, forgive ourselves and take some learning forward into our future.

We all know the proverbial phrase “To err is human; to forgive, divine.” by the English poet Alexander Pope.

So next time we look in the mirror and see something we don’t like in ourselves, we need to remember that we are a working progress, as is everyone else.

2. View yourself as your best friend.

One of the best ways to be kinder to ourselves is to visualise ourselves as one of our best friends.

If this friend came to us sad or upset, we wouldn’t tell them to get a grip and grow up… life’s tough so stop whining.

We would more than likely give them a big hug, ask them what was up, and in a very loving way try to console them.

The next time we hear that inner voice being unkind… we need to switch our mindset… view ourselves at that friend and talk to ourselves in that same loving way.

3. Be mindful.

Being mindful is about noticing what is happening in the moment and having no judgment about it. We need to notice our current situation and accept it, compassionately and with kindness.

It’s not about suppressing or ignoring our emotions, self-compassion is about dealing with our emotions in a kind and loving way. It’s about loving ourselves in spite of our flaws and not listening to our inner critic.

By being in the moment and dealing with our emotions compassionately there and then, we don’t hold on to those negative affirmations that we are currently using and allow ourselves to heal in a very loving way.

We would love to know if you’ve found this helpful, and please share it with someone you know who would benefit from reading this. Please comment below if you have any other helpful tips or ideas that could help the U perform family.