The Power of Self Compassion

I’m a big fan of self compassion.  My own journey started with an, at the time, seemingly random purchase of Kristin Neff’s book ‘Self Compassion: the Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself’ and it continues to evolve.  

Learning to be self compassionate has changed the way I talk to myself; allowing me to become a kinder and more caring friend to me.  I no longer engage in the inner dialogue of not being enough, or doing enough.  Instead of feeling bound by ‘shoulds’ I am driven by choice.  And I know I’ve always got my own back.  

By no means is self compassion an opt out.  It is very much an ‘opt in’ that keeps me caring about myself so I stay healthy and well and motivated to do my very best.  Essentially you’re sending yourself the important and powerful message that says “I love you.  I care about you.”  And that’s what stays firmly in the front of your mind as you deal with life.  

Self compassion gives you four important life tools

  • Common humanity: knowing you’re not the only one

  • Connectedness with others

  • Forgiveness of yourself and others

  • Better relationships that are stronger and robust

When we include ourselves in our circle of compassion we give ourselves the opportunity to reframe our inner critic.  And by reframing our inner critic we are able to turn our lives around.  

 Reframing those inner conversations can be a hard habit to break.  Lots of us think that being hard on ourselves is our route to success.  And we worry that if we’re not hard on ourselves we won’t ever achieve anything, that nothing will get done.  Happily I found that by wanting the best for me I have been able to do just that.  I am a better person for being self compassionate.  My relationships are deeper, richer and I am in a stronger position to reach out and support others.  Which makes me a more effective parent, a kinder friend, a more conscientious person and a nicer human being.  

It can be really hard to start speaking nicely to ourselves.  Sadly the pressures of life often see us being incredibly hard on ourselves as we struggle to keep up with life.  My inner dialogue was harsh, critical and unkind.  If I’d said the things I was saying to myself out loud and to a friend then pretty quickly I would have found myself friendless.  

If you’re struggling to get started try imagining you are talking to a friend and having a conversation that supported them through a tough time in their life.  Then turn that conversation to yourself.  Don’t be scared to include some loving touch; a shoulder rub or a hug is nice.  And acknowledge the pain “I know things are hard for you right now.”  Be encouraging “Keep going.  You’ve got this.”  Use the words your own friends would give you.  

We’re all human.  We all make mistakes.  If you feel like you’ve got things to apologise for and fences to mend go and do that.  But instead of an inner dialogue that waves a big stick at you, take the supportive friend when you go.  

Self compassion is the practice of being kind to yourself.  It’s saying no to the things that don’t serve you and yes to you.  It is supporting your strength and resilience as you live your best life. 

And who doesn’t want that?

If you feel you need support for the process please reach out, there are people in the world only too willing to help.  And keep going.  You’ve got this.