Are you your own worst enemy? Would you like to learn how you can be your own best friend instead? Read on to find out more.
When you forget your anniversary, miss a deadline, or your best idea is a flop, how do you treat yourself?
Do you become a nervous ball of stress, with sweat pouring out of every pore, or do you fill your head with self-deprecating thoughts? Maybe you admonish yourself for losing control for days after the event.
If you hit a stumbling block due to what you believe is a personal shortcoming or character flaw, talking down to yourself isn’t going to help you or improve the situation.
It’s time to take a break and learn compassion from the person you need it from the most, yourself.
What is Self-Compassion?
When you see a friend or colleague in distress, you provide support and understanding. These are traits of compassion you have directed towards someone else. When you think of self-compassion, it’s the same thing, except it’s directed inward, towards yourself.
In the last decade, there have been more than 200 studies published in highly respected scientific journals about this relatively new line of investigation.
All of the studies have been rich with evidence about the benefits of cutting yourself some slack and practicing a little self-compassion whenever life throws a curveball. Not only can self-compassion improve happiness, but it can also do wonders for intimate relationships.
Three Components of Self-Compassion
Self-compassion accepts things for what they are: When you adopt an attitude of it is what it is, you will reduce your self-inflicted suffering. Own the pain and view things as they truly are, nothing more and nothing less. When you can learn to accept the randomness of life and that sometimes stuff happens, you are less likely to get caught up in self-deprecating, negative self-talk.
Self-compassion recognizes our shared humanity: When you acknowledge that everyone goes through rough patches, you will feel a connection with the rest of humanity. Cast aside all thoughts that you alone are suffering. Everyone experiences failure, imperfection, and challenges in life. With all its trials and tribulations, life is a shared experience, and we are all vulnerable and deserving of non-judgmental understanding when we stumble.
Self-Compassion promotes self-kindness: Rather than admonish yourself with harsh judgments, you can offer yourself sympathy and patience. Self-kindness accepts that you are not infallible and that you will occasionally come up short. Therefore, you free yourself from the suffering inflicted by self-criticism, performance stress, and reactive anger.
Self-Shaming Makes Things Worse
Self-shaming is a cultural practice in which most of us are well-versed. We are constantly taught to use self-shaming as a source of motivation.
As we go through life, most of us realize that it’s not possible to be perfect, yet our inner dialogue starts tearing chunks out of our self-esteem. When we make mistakes, we rarely offer ourselves the same kindness and mercy that we would offer our loved ones.
Self-compassion is a source of understanding, of kindness without judgment and the acknowledgment that you are going through a rough patch.
Motivation and Self-Compassion
The idea that self-criticism motivates us to greater heights is a myth that has overstayed its’ welcome.
Constructive criticism often achieves positive results, but self-criticism leads to a fear of failure and destructive criticism.
Studies have revealed that people who indulge in self-compassion develop greater perseverance and can get back on the horse much faster than those who don’t.
If you find yourself struggling with anxiety and being too hard on yourself, read more here: Anxiety Treatment