3 Tips for Fostering Self-Compassion
What does it mean to have compassion for yourself and others?
We live in a time where compassion for ourselves and others is, needed, wanted, and desired more than ever. First, it is essential to understand what compassion is to fully apply it to ourselves and others. Compassion is showing sympathy, acknowledgment, and sincerity to someone or yourself experiencing hardships. Someone who expresses compassion to an
individual undergoing hardship provides validation and the willingness to sympathize.
Having compassion for yourself means that regardless of the struggles, conflicts, and chaos in your daily life or the world around you, you are purposefully gentle and kind with yourself. It is important to remember, having self-compassion is no different than giving compassion to others. When you acknowledge that you missed a deadline at work because you were up all night with your sick child, or had to ask for an extension to pay the electricity bill, or missed a school deadline because you had to pull a double shift at work - you remain gentle and kind with yourself. Self-compassion is acknowledging your struggles in a way that is sympathetic, sincere, and gracious. Rather than beating yourself up for the deadline you missed, or the humility of asking for an extension, or the shame of missing an assignment, you look towards yourself with warmth and acceptance. You have compassion for yourself by merely acknowledging you did the best you could at that time.
Having compassion for others can make all the difference. Expressing compassion to others is an indication you hear them; you sympathize with them and maybe relate to their struggles. Saying to someone, “I will be holding you close in my thoughts,” or “wishing you comfort and peace,” signifies you validate and commiserate with their struggles. Saying comforting statements can help alleviate distress. The person receiving the compassion can also develop awareness to be gracious, gentle, and warm with themselves. Lastly, in a time of hardship, expressing compassion for others allows opening the door for bonding, motivation, and merely an act of kindness someone needs at that moment.
Three skills to develop compassion for yourself and others:
Implementing compassion can be challenging to do when life is moving fast, and it seems as
though it is zipping by you. I am here to share three skills you can compassionately practice for yourself and others:
1. Positive affirmations. Telling positive affirmations to yourself such as, “I will get through
this” or telling others, “you are in my thoughts” makes all the difference. Positive
affirmations allow us to acknowledge the struggle and create space to be gentle and kind
to ourselves or others.
2. Being intentionally aware (mindful). Making the intentions for yourself and others to be
kind, respectful, and sympathetic is being intentionally compassionate.
3. Doing gestures for yourself and others. Doing something you enjoy or checking-in with
yourself by walking, reading, or journaling allows you to take time for yourself by doing
something you compassionately appreciate. Additionally, making a compassionate
gesture for others as small as sending a text message inquiring how they are doing or
inviting them to lunch signifies you care about their wellbeing.