How many times do you realize you are putting yourself down for what you haven’t done, or when you did something incorrectly? We tend to be very critical and hard on ourselves for falling short on many of life’s challenges. This kind of self-criticism can lead to increased levels of stress and anxiety. The concept of “self-compassion” challenges this harsh way in which we self-relate in hopes that we can be more encouraging and loving to ourselves.
Kristin Neff refers to self-compassion as a “healthier way of relating to yourself”. She encourages people to extend the same compassion we offer others who are suffering, to ourselves. “Having compassion for yourself means that you honor and accept your humanness… You will encounter frustrations, losses will occur, you will make mistakes, bump up against your limitations, fall short of your ideals. This is the human condition, a reality shared by all of us,” (Neff, 2009).
In order to become more self-compassionate, we must be more self-aware and mindful of what we are thinking, feeling, and doing. How are my thoughts, feelings, and behaviors affecting each other? Are they helping or hurting me? Sometimes we focus so much on what we are doing wrong, that we fail to see other options or solutions to a problem. We tend to let our thoughts snowball into everything in our lives that is not perfect. This negative way of thinking is not only stressful and anxiety-producing, but it is counterproductive.
Psychology Today reported several benefits to self-compassion. “Research shows that people who practice self-compassion have better mental health, less anxiety and depression, and are just as successful at meeting goals as those who don’t,” (Greenberg, 2013). When we take the time to positively relate to ourselves, there is more motivation and confidence to achieve the goals we have set.
If you would like to learn how to be more self-compassionate, please call Life Enhancement Counseling Services today at 407-443-8862 to make an appointment with a mental health counselor.