We all appreciate it when we receive an act of kindness and compassion from others. Imagine the possibilities if you care for yourself in the same way.
Self-compassion is the act of showing warmth, caring and kindness to yourself, without judgement. This is essentially the same as having compassion for others. We can identify when someone is struggling and respond gently, out of a place of empathy and caring. However, when it comes to ourselves, too many of us have a never ending stream of negative self-talk running through our minds each day. It’s so easy to beat ourselves down over perceived shortcomings and failures.
But is that how we would respond to a friend in need? Probably not.
Here are 3 ways you can begin to show yourself grace and kindness that cultivates a healthier, more fulfilled life.
1. Kill it with kindness.
If we choose to relate to ourselves like we would a friend, we can learn to love and appreciate ourselves for our strengths rather than criticizing our weaknesses. When we choose to show ourselves compassion, we’re more likely to rebound and recover from negative situations and feelings. Whether we’re having a negative body image day or feeling ‘bad’ about food choices, self-compassion allows us to recognize our feelings with curiosity and kindness rather than harsh criticism.
2. Recognize your humanity.
Part of learning how to show yourself compassion is recognizing that we’re all human and we all have struggles. Unfortunately it’s part of life, but we’re not alone in suffering or experiencing difficulties. Understanding this can help us better relate to ourselves when negative feelings crop up. Cultivating more compassion for ourselves allows us to stop holding on to perfectionism and fearing failure. Physiologically, it can even decrease cortisol levels, anxiety, and depression.
3. Reframe your self-talk.
Showing ourselves compassion doesn’t mean that we’ll never have negative feelings again. It simply give us the power to recognize the feelings, and choose how to respond. Addressing it from a place of gentle understanding gives us that freedom. If you’ve never considered this idea before, it may take some practice to get used to. A good place to begin can be to simply recognize your inner self-talk. What does it sound like? Does it change throughout the day? Is it kind, or critical? Once we recognize how we talk to ourselves we can work on adjusting the narrative.
Learning to cultivate more self compassion is a process, but with practice it gets easier. No one expects you to be perfect at it, and neither should you.
Reframe your perspective, and gift yourself with the love you deserve.
Adapted from the original article.
HEADER IMAGE: DREW TAYLOR
Hannah Griffith, RDN is a Registered Dietitian based in Charlottesville, Virginia. She is passionate about helping both men and women discover real health, by learning to nourish themselves and cultivate a better a better relationship with food and their bodies. Read more from Hannah at All In Good Health.