Try Practicing a Little Self-Compassion

Wednesday, March 7th, 2018

A friend comes to you feeling defeated, ashamed and really down on themselves. What do you do?

It may be safe to bet that, feeling empathy for your friend, you encourage them with everything that makes your friend so lovable, worthy, and valued. And yet, when you yourself are feeling defeated, ashamed or really down on yourself, do you meet yourself with the same empathy and support?

When thinking of how you screwed up, how you aren't enough, or how embarrassed and ashamed you feel, are you able to encourage yourself with thoughts of how lovable, worthy, and valued you are? Or maybe being compassionate toward yourself is more of a struggle.

With all the gorgeous photos online of perfect-looking people travelling, getting married, graduating, having kids and just being so happy, we may feel inadequate, inferior and unhappy in comparison.

We live in a fast-paced and high-demand world which makes it so easy to feel like we will never measure up.

Sometimes we have tendencies to be critical of ourselves in ways we would never evaluate our friends; haunted by past mistakes, feeling like we will never have enough to offer or stuck feeling unworthy of love.

Hopefully, there is a friend or loved one who knows exactly what to say to pick you up when feeling down. But if you're looking for great qualities or stories that prove you are a great person, why look any further than yourself?

If we can do it so easily for friends, we should be able to do it for ourselves.

But like all good things, self-compassion takes practice. It is a skill best built by working toward it every day, rather than just when feeling really low.

Practicing self-compassion means recognizing that there is a difference between making a bad choice and being a bad person. It means knowing, that like all of us, you are a person worthy of love and belonging.

Whatever mistakes you've made or flaws you have make you human and we all struggle from time to time. Being self-compassionate is to take all these flaws and bad choices and love yourself anyway, being patient and kind to yourself and your efforts.

It's time we loved ourselves as easily as we love those in our lives. This world could always use more love, compassion and joy.

That starts with us, so try turning all that good stuff toward yourself before bringing it out into the world. You are worth it!


This column was written by MSW intern Brooke-Anne Willis and first appeared in the New Hamburg Independent:

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