The Power Of Self-Compassion
For many of us, self-love and self-compassion are taboos as we have become accustomed to self-criticism. When we make mistakes, fall short of expectations, make the wrong decisions, or are faced with adversities, we are harsh with our comments and thoughts towards ourselves. Instead of building a tough shell, this behavior only intensifies our existing pain and feelings of guilt, shame, sadness, rejection, and anger.
When there is a build-up of these emotions, we find it challenging to cope with everyday life. It gets harder to concentrate, and we lose ourselves in the process. Fortunately, there is a way to recover from this and prevent ourselves from falling into the clutches of depression, stress, and rage. The solution is self-compassion.
What is self-compassion?
Self-compassion can be defined as showing compassion to ourselves. That means, being understanding, kind, and loving towards ourselves during challenging situations, failures, and other problems that we may blame ourselves for.
The purpose of practicing self-compassion is to give ourselves emotional strength as we work towards dealing with our pain, which could be physical, emotional, relational, or spiritual. Moreover, being kind and compassionate to ourselves is helpful for everyone, even those people we interact with.
To give you a better understanding of self-compassion, here is an example. If we are caring for our physical body when it is stressed, being kind to it, responding with compassion to the discomfort is essential. That way, the tenderness and loving care we express will calm the body down. It will reduce stress and alleviate pain. Self-compassion works similarly.
How to practice self-compassion?
We are now becoming more aware of how we can care for ourselves on an emotional level, and it’s essential to practice these self-care methods regularly. Some methods of tangible care and self-compassion are spending time in peacefulness, taking a walk in nature, or listening to our favorite music. The only cost that is involved in motivating ourselves or desiring to feel better and to enjoy our life. Another way to express compassion and care to ourselves is through therapy.
How does therapy help?
When we approach a therapist for guidance in self-compassion, they will help pin-point the emotions that are repressing us from experiencing joy and how they’ve come about. Once we understand the causes of our emotional distress, they will teach us how to develop self-compassion through the path of mindfulness.
If you’re not comfortable yet with going to therapy, I suggest you try reading about self-compassion. There are many books on the market which you can use as guides or for reference. I highly recommend "The Mindful Path to Self- Compassion Freeing Yourself from Destructive Thoughts and Emotions “ by Christopher K. Germer, PhD. On the other hand, if you’d like to consider talking to a therapist, I’m happy to extend my services to you.
I’m Marlene R. Dyck, therapist in Winnipeg, Manitoba. As a mental health professional, I am here to assist you with concerns about relationships, couples and family issues, individual issues, mental health, and grieving, to name a few. I patiently listen to the emotional struggles you’re experiencing and support and guide you on your path to self-discovery, appreciation, love, and care.