This year appears to be morphing into another tough one. To get by, we’ll need a little self-compassion. Compassion is defined as the feeling that arises when you are faced with another’s suffering and feel moved to relieve it.
If we are capable of treating others with compassion, why can’t we treat ourselves that way?
WHY SELF-COMPASSION IS KEY TO A GOOD LIFE
According to Dr. Kristin Neff:
…research suggests that self-compassion provides an island of calm, a refuge from the stormy seas of endless positive and negative self-judgment, so that we can finally stop asking, “Am I as good as they are? Am I good enough?” By tapping into our inner wellsprings of kindness, acknowledging the shared nature of our imperfect human condition, we can start to feel more secure, accepted, and alive.
I’m all in. It’s been a rough couple of months at the ranch. I’ve been doubting my writing; briefly thinking of giving it up. Basically, being mean to myself. Writing this blog is for my self-preservation.
SELF-COMPASSION BUILDING BLOCKS
Neff names three core components:
- Self-kindness. This means being gentle and understanding with ourselves. Being critical or judging ourselves harshly is a no-no.
- Common humanity. Understanding that we are all tied together as human beings—connected through mutual experiences of life—not isolated by our suffering.
- We should not exaggerate or suppress negative emotions. Rather, we need to observe our negativity with openness and clarity.
Dr. Neff warns that self-compassion takes work and things may get worse before they get better. The idea is to mindfully accept that the moment is painful. Then embrace ourselves with kindness, realizing that imperfection is part of life. After that, we can love ourselves, providing comfort to bear the pain.
Exercises and other useful tools for self-compassion can be found here.
Ah, I feel better already. Wishing you a wonderful, self-compassionate new year.