self compassion

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there was a time when ‘self-love’ was simply a slightly dodgy euphemism – these days, it’s a technique regularly used in the field of psychology to help people attain happiness and maximise their own potential

how you deal with your own shortcomings, inadequacies and failures can be essential to your own feelings of self-worth and overall wellbeing


everyone experiences bad situations – whether it’s a terrible job interview, splitting your trousers in public, or the realisation that you’re never going to cut it as a professional hand model. self-compassion is about taking on board your own faults and limitations and having grace for yourself

many people will reject the idea of self-compassion, believing that having kindness for yourself will simply lead to a pattern of making excuses for poor performance or bad behaviour. however, the current research shows that there are actually huge benefits

if your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete

jack kornfield

there are 5 benefits to self compassion

  • less procrastination
  • better re-engagement
  • greater accountability
  • taking constructive feedback
  • understanding your value

less procrastination

if you practice self-compassion, you will typically procrastinate less. the negative feelings that are reinforced when you don’t practice self-love – such as guilt, shame and fear – will often be crippling and demotivating – and, consequently, detrimental to the completion of projects or goals

in short, if you practice self-compassion, you are less likely to spend time dragging your feet


better re-engagement

you are also much more likely to re-engage after failure

rather than wallowing in the embarrassment of a job interview in which you realised that you’d spent the duration with half a roll of toilet paper hanging off your shoe, if you have self-love, you are more likely to see the funny side of this, and write it off as dumb luck

this will allow you to get ‘back on the horse’ and keep going


greater accountability

contrary to what many people assume, self-compassion does not help you put distance between yourself and your problems. in fact, it actually allows you to take on greater accountability

rather than ignoring or de-compartmentalising past mistakes or shameful situations, self-compassion actually helps you to achieve a more accurate and reasoned assessment of such things


taking constructive feedback

when you learn to have more compassion for yourself, you will also be more open to taking constructive feedback from others, and, crucially, perceive when those around you are just negative and unhelpful influences


understanding your value

when you practice self-compassion, you will understand your inherent value and this will give you the ability to recognise when people are genuinely trying to be helpful


conclusion

when you think about your life, take a step back and view the world from the perspective of a best friend or someone else that cares deeply for you

if you’re ever tempted to be self-critical, simply imagine what they would say, and learn to take encouragement from that kindness

“self-compassion is simply giving the same kindness to ourselves that we would give to others”


christopher germer

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