“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion”-Dalai Lama
Self-compassion refers to the ability to love and value yourself. Self-compassion in an important part of self-love, with self love being an important feature of improving self-esteem and mental health. Furthermore, self-compassion offers a coping strategy and skill that alleviates anxiety and worry, while promoting resiliency when faced with stress and hardship.
Those who practice self-compassion are less anxious, feel happier and are more adventurous and confident. These individuals are more resilient to failure and are willing to learn new skills. Self-compassion makes you view the world in a different way, and as a result improves your mood, relationships and self-esteem.
Given that there are so many benefits of self-compassion, why is it so difficult to achieve? Most people don’t understand that it is a skill that has to be practiced.Self-compassion is a learned behaviour that can be demonstrated and acquired in your daily life. Start by practicing mindfulness; being aware of yourself, your limitations and your strengths, but choosing to accept yourself anyway. Self-compassion means extending the care, warmth and concern we feel for others onto ourselves.
Practicing self-compassion comes with the realization that you are human and you make mistakes. Breathing acceptance into mistakes allows you to stop beating yourself up over your failures and setbacks and instead allows you to continually view yourself in a positive way. Self-compassion means not giving up on yourself, not ruminating over the negative and reducing self-blaming thoughts. Start integrating this phrase into your life: “You did the best you could given what you knew at the time” (Greenberg, 2013). Keep your thoughts positive and remember the principles of self-compassion as your journey towards a life with more self-acceptance and self-love.
Article Written By: Stacie Courtney-Mustaphi, B.Soc.Sci, MA Candidate