5 Ways to Be More Self-Compassionate
We often feel sympathy for a person that is struggling or going through a difficult time. We treat them with care and kindness, empathise with their pain and even want to help them.
However, when we are experiencing a tough time or things are not going the way we wanted them to, we easily get into the habit of being overly critical and hard on ourselves. This is highly destructive as being too hard on oneself can lead to anxiety, depression, and low self-worth.
The art of self-compassion is something that can be learned and accumulated over time. It requires acknowledging our struggles, feelings, and failures without judgment and instead treating ourselves with warmth, understanding and kindness.
A good way to become self-compassionate is to imagine how we would treat a friend expressing negative thoughts about themselves. Likely, we would understand and empathize with their suffering and situation and suggest positive things about them to increase their self-love. To develop self-compassion, we need to do the same for ourselves.
If you’re struggling with this concept and want to learn how to become self-compassionate, consider implementing these five habits:
- Be kind to yourself
Sometimes we feel we must challenge ourselves to take on everything only to prove something to ourselves or others. For example, working 12 hours a day, pushing oneself too hard in the gym, or even forcing ourselves to be social when all we need is some alone time. Whatever it may be, going above our limits, especially during a difficult period, will only destroy our precious health.
Instead, do what feels right. Listen to your body and follow its needs. By eliminating this extra pressure, you’ll find yourself healthier and happier.
- Give yourself time to rest
In addition to over-pushing ourselves, we may feel like we must do everything at once, which leads to neglecting sleep, hobbies, and recreation.
To develop self-compassion, we need to give ourselves time to restore. So, schedule time each day to binge-watch your favourite tv show, lay down or hang out with a friend. Whatever makes you feel rested, schedule time for it. This will keep your mind and body energised, relaxed, and ready to tackle responsibilities.
- Practice affirmations
Self-affirmations are a great tool to implement in everyday life as how we speak to ourselves truly affects our confidence. Practise repeating your positive qualities to yourself every day. It may not feel easy at first, but you will eventually find your way.
This could be in the form of writing or speech. Positive self-affirmations help eliminate negative and overly critical thinking. We train the mind to be kind to ourselves by repeating these positive words.
- Don’t focus on the negatives
In addition to practising affirmations, try switching the narrative of your thoughts. It is difficult to have faith in yourself when you’re constantly thinking negatively.
Instead of saying, “I could never do that”, say, “I am going to be patient with myself while I learn this new task.” This gives you the power to make mistakes without judgment.
You can also focus on what a situation is trying to teach you, which will help you avoid feeling like a victim.
- Practise self-care
Self-care is one of the most important aspects of self-compassion. Indulge in activities that make you happy and fill your heart with joy. Setting aside time for ourselves isn’t being selfish or unproductive; it is necessary for regaining our strength and adopting self-love. Dedicate some of your time to self-care every week.
Remember that becoming self-compassionate takes time and effort; you are re-shifting your mind, which cannot be easy. Be patient with yourself on this journey and trust the process. You will notice an instant boost of confidence when you start owning this power.
At Citizen, our counsellors and coaches provide support in becoming self-compassionate and more confident. This can be in the form of one-to-one counselling and coaching in person, via secure phone or video link.
Edited by: Eliška Petříková