Self-compassion isn’t always easy for everyone. Maybe you grew up in a home where you were consistently brought down. Or perhaps you’ve been in relationships where compassion didn’t exist.
Unfortunately, a lack of self-compassion can lead to big problems. When you don’t love yourself, it can cause difficulties in relationships. Plus, focusing more on others than yourself will eventually take its toll on both your mind and body.
So, what can you do about it?
Mindfulness has become so popular in recent years because it can help with everything from anxiety and depression to low self-esteem. Let’s look at a few mindful ways to start practicing self-compassion.
1. Become Aware of Your Thoughts and Feelings
When you choose to practice mindfulness, it’s important to be fully aware of how you’re feeling and what you’re thinking in that particular moment. Let those thoughts and feelings come and go freely.
That means it’s okay to let some negative thoughts come in if that’s what happens naturally. But don’t hang onto them or analyze them. Allow them to pass through your mind just as quickly as they came.
2. Be More Childlike
If you’re overly-critical of yourself on a regular basis, try to think of yourself at any given moment as a child might. Children have a sense of innocence about them that we tend to lose as adults. They also tend to show compassion very easily.
Of course, it works both ways. Most adults are far more compassionate toward children than other adults. Be more childlike in the way you view yourself, and you’re likely to be more compassionate.
3. Make Friends With Your Inner Voice
A lack of self-compassion often comes from negative self-talk. The next time that critical inner voice starts to say negative things, listen from a different perspective. Listen to what it’s saying in the moment and try to understand the meaning behind it- what is the concern?
Maybe your negative inner voice can become your biggest motivator. Or perhaps it can protect you. Use it to your advantage in any way possible when it starts to creep in.
4. Love Your Imperfections
Whether you make a mistake on a project at work or you can’t fit into your favorite pair of jeans one day, take a moment to appreciate your imperfections. That’s easier to do when you recognize that no one else is perfect.
When you allow yourself to ruminate about the past, future, or other people, you may have a tendency to think negatively about yourself. But when you simply see your perfectly imperfect imperfections in the moment, without comparing yourself to others, it’s easier to accept them for what they are and move on with your life.
5. Be Realistic in the Present
A lack of self-compassion usually comes with an unrealistic perspective of who you are. This is often fueled by mistakes or regrets from the past, or worries about the future. Mindfulness allows you to focus on the here and now, rather than letting worries that don’t have relevance anymore take over.
Think about who you are now, and understand that it’s not who you were before. It’s also important to recognize that you can’t control or predict the future. So, worrying about it won’t do you any good.
6. Don’t Label Yourself
Your self-critic will try to label you with a thousand different negative things. Don’t over-identify yourself. When you place too many labels on yourself, you’ll start to think that you have to live up to certain ideals. And if you don’t, you may start to believe you’re not worthy of love or compassion.
Be who you are at any given moment without the added pressures of wearing multiple hats. When you allow yourself to simply be who you are, the pressure goes away and the negative self-talk dwindles.
7. Find Help to See Through the Fog
Seeking out professional help can help you to focus on your thoughts and feelings for what they are. Having that extra supportive direction will make it easier for you to see reality, rather than letting negative thoughts have their way over your life, emotions, and actions.
If you’re struggling with self-compassion and it’s taking a toll on your life, please contact me. Together, we can work on even more mindful ways to make self-compassion a priority so that you can see yourself for who you really are.