The Art of Self Compassion
The art of Self compassion is a powerful force in our lives. It doesn’t come easily or naturally, but it is a skill that can be learned and crafted. It has the power to transform your life so listen as we cover what Self compassion IS, what it is NOT. Then we learn all about the 3 components of self compassion that will change your life.
You can use self compassion to enhance every aspect of your life. It will also build resilience and helps you avoid depression, anxiety, self judgement and insecurity. I include powerful questions to ask yourself and affirmations you can use to implement self compassion into your life today. Are you ready to Emerge Empowered?
If someone that you love is going through something hard, what are the things that you say to this person? How do you comfort them? And how does compassion show up when you know that someone that you love is going through something hard? We usually will say things like I’m so sorry that you have to go through this, or this is such a hard time for you and I am there for you. I want you to know that I am here to listen and be by your side as you get through this. What are some other things that you say to a friend or a family member going through difficult things?
Next, I want you to think about what are some things that you say to yourself when you’re going through a hard time? This should be easier. Pull it together. Why can’t you get through this? Why is this so hard? Life is so unfair.
Do you see the stark contrast between how we show up for other people and how we show up for ourselves? This is where self-compassion enters in. It’s all about learning to treat ourselves with the same compassion that we would treat other people as they’re going through something hard to extend that same compassion to ourselves when we’re going through hard things.
What is it NOT
Self-compassion is not giving in. It’s also not making excuses and it’s not wallowing in self-pity self-compassion and self-pity are very, very different. So what does self-compassion do for you? Well, it helps you avoid anxiety helps you avoid self judgment. It helps you avoid insecurity and it helps you avoid depression.
So by showing up in a really compassionate way for ourselves, then we can avoid some of those pitfalls, like anxiety, self judgment, insecurity, and depression.
Now there are three main components to self-compassion. And Dr. Kristin Neff is the leading expert in self-compassion and she has boiled it down to these three components.
The first component is self-kindness think back to those things that you say to a dear friend or a treasured relative as they’re going through a hard time. And think back to the things that you say to yourself as you’re going through a hard time. So self-kindness steps in, it’s all about being warm, being, understanding, being compassionate to ourselves when we are suffering or when we fail or when we feel inadequate in some way.
Rather than ignoring the actual pain that we are in and flooding ourselves with self criticism and being our own task master expecting that we should be able to get through this or work harder. Instead of self criticism, really embracing self-compassion talking to ourselves like we were talking to a trusted friend or a beloved child that we can actually provide that compassion for ourselves. It’s wonderful when other people show up with compassion for us. But many of us don’t understand that that’s a gift, a beautiful gift that we can give ourselves that we can show up in a compassionate way in self kindness to our.
An easy way to do this is to just think about if you’re a dear friend or a beloved child or a dear family member was going through some of the challenges that you are currently going through and think about the things that you would say to them, and then turn it back on yourself and say those things to yourself. You can show up with self kindness.
The second component of Self Compassion is common humanity. When we are experiencing something hard, we have this innate reaction to turn inward instead of outward. When we do that, we’re more inclined to indulge in self-pity rather than self-compassion. This element of common humanity recognizes that other people suffer. And these feelings of personal inadequacy are really part of the human experience and that we are not alone.
We realize that it’s something that we all go through rather than this is just something that happens to me alone. And yet, sometimes that’s where our minds go, we turn inward, we say poor me. I must be the only person on earth who has ever experienced pain and suffering or, or these feelings of inadequacy when really pain is universal and we all experience it.
And it’s part of our human experience. So if we can actually just identify this piece of common humanity and say, yes, I am going through a hard time, and this is a really difficult stage and I’m not alone. There are other people who experienced pain and suffering, and it’s what actually connects us as human beings instead of separate.
It actually connects us that it’s part of our shared human experience and that we know we’re part of humanity in that way. And I love that aspect of self-compassion because anytime we start to isolate ourselves or feel alone, then it’s easy to wallow in self-pity. And when we reach out and connect ourselves with others, then we can have self-compassion and move through this hard time.
The third aspect of self-compassion is mindfulness. This idea of mindfulness is being present and taking a really balanced approach to negative emotions. Actually experiencing our emotions and not keeping them suppressed. We are taught in this society to suppress our feelings and, and move on. Mindfulness is not suppressing our emotion nor is it something that we exaggerate or overdramatize.
It’s just something that we experience and we can’t ignore our pain and our suffering and feel compassion for it. At the same time, it is something that we need to be mindful of and actually experience the pain that we are feeling and acknowledge that we are going through a hard time and that’s okay.
Mindfulness also requires that we don’t over identify with our thoughts and our feelings. That’s self-care. When we over identify with that and we really indulge in the emotion and over-exaggerate it. We start telling people at the workplace or a dear friend, and we start to retell the story and it gets better and better every time.
We want them to feel sorry for us or that we have someone on our side – that is not mindfulness nor self-compassion. When you feel sorry for yourself, that is self-pity. Be aware and make sure you’re not over identifying with your thoughts and feelings, so that you’re caught up, that you’re swept away by that negativity.
So often we think that if we are hard on ourselves, somehow that will help us get through it when really the opposite is true. Being mindful, just experiencing it, knowing that we’re not alone, talking to ourselves with that element of self-kindness like we would a trusted friend – that’s when the power of self-compassion really changes our lives.
Generating Positive Emotion
The beauty of self-compassion is that new positive emotions are generated. By embracing the negative ones, it actually makes us more resilient. And by processing the pain that we are feeling, it actually allows new positive emotions to be generated, which is so cool. And giving yourself compassion will not always be easy.
Our minds and our brains are currently wired to be quite critical and really harsh toward ourselves. But as you apply self-compassion and practice it a little bit more, it will become easier and easier and more powerful in your life. So it’s a way that you can empower yourself. To actually feel your emotions and move beyond them and in the process generate more positive emotions as well.
You really do need to believe in yourself and reassure yourself and it won’t necessarily come naturally. And you may have some doubts, but just keep going. Just keep practicing. Self-kindness. Connection to humanity that you aren’t alone and being mindful and actually processing and feeling those feelings and letting them pass.
Powerful Questions to Ask
So today I wanted to share with you some powerful questions to ask yourself when you are feeling pain. So when you start to experience pain in your life and we all do, because it’s part of our shared human experience. Here are some powerful questions that you can ask. What do I need now? Isn’t that so powerful.
And that’s not the first thing that comes to my mind when I’m experiencing pain, but it is something that I have trained myself to direct to what do I need now? Because ultimately, like we talked about in my podcast episode about having a relationship with your. Ultimately you are responsible for taking care of you, and that is your responsibility alone.
You can ask for help, you can make requests, but it’s up to you to make sure that your needs are met. So by asking yourself, what do I need? Now? You can identify exactly what you need and be able to provide that for yourself or make requests of other people to help you. That’s powerful. What do I need? So another powerful question to ask yourself is what is one statement that I’m comfortable saying when I need support?
Another powerful question is how can I be nurturing to me? I know some people find it really, really helpful to think about if this was happening to my child or if this was happening to a dear friend or someone that I love, what would I say to them? And then turn that around and say that to yourself.
How can I be nurturing to myself? And another powerful question is if I loved myself fully, how would I treat myself? If I loved myself fully, how would I treat myself? Those are some powerful, powerful questions that you can ask yourself right now.
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