Self-compassion is being gentle with yourself even when you feel like being self-critical. It’s choosing understanding over judgment.
Kristin Neff, PhD
Self-love may seem an essential component of emotional wellness. After all, if we can’t love ourselves, how can we ever hope to form loving relationships with others?
But for many of us, the idea of self-love feels more aspirational than attainable. Nice in theory, but a bit… unrealistic.
If you feel this way, too, take heart. There’s an alternative:
Self-compassion: extending compassion to oneself in instances of perceived inadequacy, failure, or suffering.
Comprised of 3 components (mindfulness, common humanity, and self-kindness), self-compassion practiced over time promotes active self-care and resilience to stress.
And that leads to improved emotional wellness.
So, bottom line?
When self-love feels out of reach, aim for self-compassion instead.
Today we’re sharing 8 transformative practices to help you cultivate self-compassion in your daily life:
1. Cultivate mindful awareness
Begin by cultivating mindful awareness of your thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations. Notice when you’re being self-critical or judgmental towards yourself. Instead of suppressing or ignoring these feelings, acknowledge them with gentle curiosity and non-judgmental awareness.
2. Practice self-kindness
Treat yourself with the same warmth and kindness that you would offer to a close friend or loved one. When faced with challenges or setbacks, practice self-soothing language and gestures. Offer yourself words of encouragement and support, just as you would to someone you care about.
3. Embrace imperfection
Recognize that perfection is an unattainable ideal and that making mistakes is an inevitable part of being human. Embrace your imperfections with humility and compassion, understanding that they are essential aspects of your growth and learning journey.
4. Adopt a gratitude habit
Cultivate a sense of gratitude for yourself and your journey. Reflect on your strengths, accomplishments, and the qualities that make you unique. Celebrate your progress, no matter how small, and express gratitude for the efforts you’ve made towards your personal and professional goals.
5. Set healthy boundaries
Honor your needs and boundaries by saying “no” to activities, relationships, and commitments that drain your energy or compromise your well-being. Prioritize self-care practices that nourish your body, mind, and spirit, and don’t hesitate to seek support when needed.
6. Practice forgiveness
Release yourself from the burden of resentment and self-blame by practicing forgiveness. Acknowledge any past mistakes or regrets with compassion and understanding, recognizing that you did the best you could with the resources and knowledge you had at the time. Let go of the need for perfection and embrace the healing power of self-forgiveness.
7. Check your mindset
Cultivate a self-compassionate mindset by reframing your inner dialogue and beliefs. Challenge self-limiting beliefs and negative self-talk by replacing them with affirmations of self-worth and acceptance. Cultivate an attitude of self-acceptance and unconditional positive regard towards yourself, regardless of your perceived flaws or shortcomings.
8. Connect with others
Seek out connection and support from others who share your commitment to self-compassion and personal growth. Surround yourself with a supportive community of friends, family members, mentors, and therapists who can offer empathy, encouragement, and validation during challenging times. Share your struggles and triumphs openly, knowing that you’re never alone on this journey.
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Ready to take the next step toward self-compassion?