How do I learn to be kind to myself? Developing self-compassion
Updated: Apr 21, 2020
So happy you are here! I can't wait for you to start your journey towards self-compassion. Believe me, it's such a great feeling to be more kind and gentle with yourself!
If you are struggling with the idea of being kind to yourself or you think that it will hold you back. Read my post about how practicing self-compassion helps you become more successful in life. Read about it here.
It will seem very uncomfortable and odd at first and that's because for the amount of time that you have been alive, you have been accustomed to the self-talk that you engage in now! So it will take time to retrain your mind. Like when you start working out, it feels different at first but then once you get your groove, you wonder why it has taken you so long in the first place!
Keep in mind that this will always be a work in progress. As you experience various transitions in your life, you will experience various emotions. Growth isn't always linear.
Below are steps to develop self-compassion:
One of the most effective ways to learn about your own self-talk is to listen to your inner voice. Don't try to intervene and see the types of thoughts that fill your mind when you are in a quiet place. Write down these thoughts and try to identify a pattern of recurring theme of your thoughts.
With the thoughts that you have written down, replace those statements with more compassionate and accepting statements. Make sure to say these statements to yourself when you are engaging in negative self-talk.
You may come across situations where you will struggle to replace the negative self-talk and revert back to engaging in negative self-talk. In these situations, talk to a loved one that you know will provide you a loving and supportive space that will help in challenging your negative self-talk. Remember, that if you found a friend struggling, you would do your best to lift them up and give them the strength that they needed to move forward. Treat yourself the same way. You also deserve the same treatment. And if you aren't able to talk with someone, there are amazing meditations out there that you could listen to. Search self-compassionate guided meditations. There are also amazing meditations that you can listen to help you navigate through the difficult emotions you may be experiencing.
Be kind to yourself during the hard times and allow yourself to celebrate the good times. Validate your own feelings and don't be dismissive of them. For example, if you are feeling angry at a time where you feel like you "should" feel happy, allow yourself to feel the emotions you are feeling and be curious about them. Tell yourself, it is okay that you are feeling angry. And then ask yourself what is it about this experience that makes me feel angry and what is the pressure that I am putting on myself to feel happy. You are more likely to foster a better relationship with yourself if you give yourself permission to feel what you are feeling and be curious about it. You are also more likely to understand your behaviors and actions that follow your thoughts because you have started to take a more curious approach to your thoughts.
Lastly, practice forgiveness and self-compassion exercises to strengthen your engagement in self-compassion. Remember that it isn't a one time fix-all. Life is full of all sorts of surprises in which you will experience all types of emotions and experiences. As you practice self-compassion, it will get easier and easier and you will surprise yourself in how you grow and how you will allow yourself to be the person you have always wanted to be or have never imagined yourself to be.
And there you go. I hope that these steps help you on your journey to becoming more compassionate to yourself. Please comment below with any other ways that you practice self-compassion. And please share this with your loved ones that could benefit being kinder to themselves.