Self-compassion has been thoroughly studied over the last decade, and its numerous benefits one people’s well-being are very clear and tangible. More satisfaction, happiness, better relationships, and overall health are just some of the benefits that people who are more self-compassionate tend to have. Besides that, the ability to cope with stressful life events is more developed in these individuals.
This amazing quality can bring a lot to the table when it comes to personal growth, but for some, it seems to carry a negative connotation.
Just as with other terms like self-pity or self-indulgent (most of the “self” terms, actually), people tend to react to it in a negative way. However, when you think about being compassionate, only unquestionably good qualities come to mind; empathy, kindness, and mercy among others. So, if being compassionate towards others is seen as good quality, why should being compassionate with one self be seen as a negative trait?
To answer this, we just have to take a quick look at our society’s belief system. A system in which not blaming ourselves for something puts us at risk of moral complacency or egotism. Nevertheless, these are just terms, and the real goal here is to understand how this life-changing practice can help you improve your life.
What is Self Compassion?
Definition: Self-compassion is extending compassion to one’s self in instances of perceived inadequacy, failure, or general suffering.
A pretty clear definition that makes it easy to understand why this is so important. It basically means to act towards yourself the same way you would act towards a friend that is hurting or going through a tough situation. Being good and kind with yourself as you would be with those you love is not a selfish act, nor a sign of weakness. It is an elevated form of understanding self needs.
It Involves Three Core Elements:
Like most self-development practices, it will require time and some effort on your side to incorporate it into your life. But, even if you’re just starting, you will notice how much your mindset will change and how you’ll be able to cope with any hardship more willingly and with much less stress.
It’s normal to feel bad sometimes, especially when things aren’t going your way. And in those moments where you can feel devastated, having a friend or someone to stand by your side, listen to, and acknowledge your pain, is priceless. Now imagine being able to do that exact thing for yourself; not only is it beneficial for you, but it is also a clear sign of strength, being able to support yourself.
The Antidote To Self-Pity
Being compassionate with oneself is one of the best ways to break the self-pity habit. It might sound confusing at first, especially if you think of both terms as synonyms, but reality is that being able to acknowledge and accept our mistakes and bad feelings, helps us better process what is happening to us and eventually let go of it completely. That makes us less likely to get swallowed up by self-pity.
Develop Resilience and Coping Mechanisms
Far from being a sign of weakness, self-compassion is known to be one of the most powerful sources of coping and resilience. When going through major life crises, it seems that this powerful trait makes an incredible difference in our ability to thrive. This is great news for individuals who feel stuck in life or hopeless in any way, because, with some self-work done they could turn their life around completely.
Being True To Yourself
There is almost no greater trait than being true to oneself. Beyond just being able to tell what you feel, this is about acknowledging accepting your flaws and fears without lying to yourself. Being authentic can help you gravitate towards roles and situations that better fit your personality and values. This will result in a better self-understanding and increased confidence that not only will make you feel better about every decision you make, but it’s also something that people around you will start to notice.
Growth Focused Mindset
Once you get in touch with your self-value, strengths, and learn to accept your flaws and limitations, you’ll find yourself more determined and motivated to improve in other areas of your life as well. That’s what self-compassion is all about; it’s a tool that can help you develop a healthier mindset. Knowing where we stand as human beings and as professionals is the basis of personal development, this will prevent you from having unrealistic expectations of what you can do (whether you think too positive or too negative about yourself).
The Mindful Self-Compassion
When you combine self-compassion with mindfulness, the road to improving your life becomes clearer and your mental processes start to align with your internal value system in a more efficient way. Being able to act as your own friend that listens to your needs and comforts you in times of pain is a great advantage over those who are not aware of themselves.
Taking a while to acknowledge your pain and practice being self-compassionate is a learned skill, so it will take some time to get used to it and properly incorporate it in your life as a habit. However, as you start working on yourself and become more aware of your strengths and limitations, this mindful approach will impact each and every area of your life, allowing you to create stronger bonds with people, cope with any difficult situation that you might come across, and an overall feeling of fulfilment.