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Julia Matheson

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5 steps to self compassion

We all hear the terms self love, self kindness and self compassion talked about. It’s easy to understand these concepts from an intellectual level, but like many things – another thing all together to actually put into practice.

Being kind, patient and loving towards yourself is possibly the hardest thing you will ever practice. And it is that – a practice. It is ongoing work that requires self awareness and a willingness to keep trying again and again. You will never tick this one off your to-do list!

The concept of self compassion springs from the Buddhist theory of loving-kindness. And if you weren’t already sold on the concept, recent research suggests that we should all be kinder to ourselves because doing so makes us healthier, more fulfilled, and more successful in the pursuits we choose. No small feat.

Self compassion dictates that we treat ourselves as we treat our friends. But as you know, too often we aren’t half as kind to ourselves as we are to our friends. Our inner voice is by far our worst and harshest critic. Quite often the people that are the most compassionate towards others are the least forgiving to themselves.

“People who have self compassion are able to love themselves despite their failures, and see setbacks as part of the normal human condition.”

– Adams, Mapp & Frisch.

Life’s tough enough, self compassion helps to eliminate a lot of the anger, depression and pain we experience when things go badly for us.

But HOW? ?

5 STEPS TO SELF COMPASSION:

  1. BE CURIOUS.
    Increasing your self awareness is key. Without it, you are flying blind. So turn up the dial on your intuition, and listen closely to what’s playing out in your mind and heart.

  2. DON’T JUDGE.
    Once you have enquired into how you’re feeling/thinking, the most important thing is to refrain from judgement. Resist the urge to judge, label, or berate yourself about what you’ve discovered.

  3. ASK YOURSELF.
    How would I treat myself if I was showing myself love right now?“. What things would you do or say if you were coming from a place of self compassion? And if this doesn’t work, ask yourself what you would tell a friend, or do for them in the same situation?

  4. ACT FROM LOVE.
    Follow through and actually do the actions, or say the words to yourself that were uncovered from step 3.

  5. REPEAT.
    Cycle through these steps as often as required. It may be a minute to minute practice for some, and that’s OK.

Be curious and gentle with yourself as you work through these steps towards self compassion. In time you will find that mean inner critic loses some of its power and influence, and instead a loving, compassionate and kind inner voice will take centre stage.

How are you practicing self compassion?

Let me know how these steps work for you in the comments below.

“See yourself in a more positive and proactive light. Surviving risks teaches self confidence and builds the belief that you can handle whatever life throws at you. In an uncertain world, this type of inner strength can be the difference between flourishing and floundering.”

– Adams, Mapp & Frisch

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