In part one of this series we defined self-care and some of the ways it can be put into practice. In part two of this series we will discuss self-compassion.
Self-compassion is like being the supportive friend you’ve always needed…for yourself. A good friend would acknowledge when you are experiencing something difficult instead of ignoring or avoiding you. A good friend would validate the emotions you are experiencing and give you permission to feel any emotion that is coming up. Then a friend might ask, what do you need in this moment, how can I help? The goal is to become that friend for yourself.
Unlike self-esteem, self-compassion allows you to acknowledge shortcomings, failures and feelings. Self-esteem would place judgments, criticize and evoke shame for failures and shortcomings. In contrast, practicing self-compassion means saying it’s ok to not be perfect and to have a bad day.
I first learned about self-compassion when I came across Dr. Kristin Neff’s book Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself. I was instantly hooked when I began reading and found myself low on self-compassion. I used her quiz here to see where I could improve and stuck around to find other great resources on her website.
Self-compassion can feel uncomfortable at first since we are taught that we should be hard on ourselves or we won’t succeed. We have to rewire how our brain thinks. Take your time and be kind to yourself and eventually self-compassion can become your new way of functioning.