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Receiving Gifts of Self Compassion
Receiving the Gifts of Self-Compassion
Self-compassion means being gentle, kind and understanding with yourself; accepting that you are not perfect; and understanding that there is potential for learning and growth in every mistake you make (Neff, 2003).
The Dalai Lama said “If you don’t love yourself, you cannot love others. You will not be able to love others. If you have no compassion for yourself then you are not able of developing compassion for others”.
An easy way to understand self-compassion is to compare it to the instructions given by flight attendants in case of a depressurized airplane cabin: you’re supposed to put on your own oxygen mask before helping someone else with theirs. In the same way, we need to look after ourselves before taking care of others.
5 Ways You Can Practice Self-Compassion
Here are five essential steps to increase your self-compassion
Step 1: Practice Forgiveness
Stop punishing yourself for your mistakes. Accept that you are not perfect and be gentle with yourself when you make a mistake. You are valued by your friends and colleagues because of who you are, not because you are faultless.
Step 2: Employ a Growth Mindset
Embrace rather than avoid challenges, persist in finding meaning in them, and don’t give up on yourself. When you find you are criticizing yourself and negatively comparing yourself with others, try to find inspiration in their successes and strengths instead of feeling threatened.
Step 3: Express Gratitude
Feeling gratitude is very powerful. Rather than wishing for what we do not have, there is strength in appreciating what we do have, right now. You can choose to write a gratitude journal or go for gratitude walks. By focusing on our blessings, we invite a gentler inner voice and move the focus away from our shortcomings and outward to the world, with all its beauty.
Step 4: Be Mindful
Mindfulness has been found to have a positive impact on self-compassion, as it tends to lessen self-judgment (Kabat-Zinn, 2014). Strive to always be in the moment and to be aware of what is happening right now, without judgment and labeling.
Allow what you think or feel to have its moment; don’t give it the microphone or hide it in the corner. Allow it to come, and then, without attachment, let it go.
A Take-Home Message
You are worthy of love. So, next time you do not rise to the expectations you have of yourself, take a moment to pause and reassess.
Finally, accept yourself. You are not perfect. No one is and perfection is not the end goal – living fully Is!
“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.”
May you offer yourself the gift of loving kindness and self-love throughout your day, your week and your month
Take care of You
Cancer Care Counsellor
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