The practice of self-love, kindness, and reflection
Photo courtesy of Natalie Grainger.
One of the largest issues that this society has faced so far is the outbreak of Covid-19, and how it affected the world in its entirety. It became hard to see how the world was going to move past this while many of us were stuck behind computer screens. There has been countless research since on how this mentally affected people during lockdowns, and how they are still dealing with the repercussions in 2023.
The act of self-compassion can reduce and regulate painful emotions. By being compassionate toward ourselves, it becomes easier to maneuver problems that directly resulted from the pandemic. The question many of us have is: how do we start? Self-compassion doesn’t just grow within ourselves overnight, it is a process, and itt constantly needs to be worked on in order to achieve it. This article will give you helpful tips that you can use to ensure that you are being mindful of how you are treating yourself.
Before mentioning these tips, why this has become so important lately?
According to the Oxford Dictionary, compassion is a strong feeling of sympathy for people or animals who are suffering and a desire to help them. Adding the self to the mix, really just means that you have these strong feelings of sympathy for yourself and you have a strong desire to help yourself.
Having compassion for yourself is no different than having compassion for a friend, a family member, or a pet. Instead of ignoring or pushing away your feelings, you treat them as if they were someone else. If your sister was in dire need of some compassion, giving it to her would be easier than giving it to yourself, but in reality, there is no difference between the two.
Being mindful of these emotions is the first step in being able to give yourself the compassion you need. Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware, and in the moment. Meditation, breathwork, and journaling are just a few resources that can help one stay more mindful. Mindfulness becomes key when trying to practice self-compassion toward yourself, because only you can really tell what’s going on inside of you.
Perspective is everything in most cases and it’s no different than when talking about yourself and the problems you face in day-to-day situations. In fact, it is proven that it is harder to be kinder to ourselves. Psychological researcher David Aderman says, “When people are asked to imagine themselves in another's situation, they are less likely to blame that person for their plight and are more likely to respond with compassion.” Being able to change your perspective may take practice but it will develop once you practice it more often.
There are a few exercises that can help with understanding your own perspective. Imagine your friend or partner is going through the exact same situation you are in, what would you do for them? The answer can come quite quickly to you, and then you realize that these solutions can be easily applicable to you. Don’t be afraid to show yourself the kindness you deserve!
As mentioned before in the first tip, being able to treat yourself like a best friend is crucial. Make a list of things that you appreciated your friends and family doing for you when you were feeling down. What made you smile and what eased your worries? Your friend could have possibly created a playlist with your favorite songs and it made you smile. Music can be really helpful in times of stress. Perhaps your partner brought you some flowers and looking at them made your day just a little brighter. What’s stopping you from doing these acts of kindness toward yourself? Create a best friend out of the person you know like the back of your hand, you.
Gifts don’t have to be materialistic, but can really come from a place of love and compassion. Create a list of places, foods, music, or atmospheres that make you feel happy. This list can serve as a “rainy day” list that you are able to choose from when you are feeling a little blue. The gift of compassion is something that will never cost you anything and it’s readily available all the time.
There are also times when you do want to spoil yourself, and this is completely okay too! Grab yourself some great tea from your favorite coffee shop, buy yourself a new book, or buy yourself a box of chocolate. Gift giving doesn’t always have to be giving things to others. What gifts can you give yourself to offer a little self-compassion to any problems that you might be going through?
This tip can weigh very heavily on people who are constantly looking out for others. Being mindful and reflective of who is in your life is important when practicing self-compassion. There is no way that you can fully thrive in a toxic environment, and it really affects the way that you view yourself as well. You will constantly be interacting with negative people in your life, but just because you have known them for a long time, doesn’t mean you have to excuse their toxic behavior. It can in turn make you a toxic person as well. There are so many reasons why getting toxic people out of your life is important, but remember that you don’t need a million excuses to show that you need to get rid of this person. Toxicity is contagious.
Being able to forgive yourself can perhaps be one of the most challenging things that you will go through in life. Forgiveness toward others can be easy, but forgiving yourself is extremely difficult. There are certain factors that show that you haven’t really forgiven yourself, and the most important way to tell is if you constantly use it as an excuse to put yourself down. Focusing on how the mistake made you feel, speaking it aloud or writing it down, and reflecting on it can make the process a little easier. There are also so many resources that can help you including those in your own circle. This can feel like the final step in your journey of self-compassion and it is arguably the most difficult yet important. Allow yourself to feel and then treat it as a learning experience and you will be able to grow from your mistakes.
The journey of self-compassion will take more than a day, and it’ll come in waves. Just like any other journey, it will have its ups and downs, but in the end, you’re just happy to have finally made it to your destination. Only then will you be able to appreciate the journey and how you were able to get yourself there. Embracing these tips can create a better you at the end of 2023. What takeaways do you have after reflecting on these tips? Remember that this is your own journey, and it can involve more than just five simple steps. Enjoy the journey, and it will be even better in the long run.