Are you your biggest critic? It’s easy for us to be tough on ourselves – a little too tough. Do you ever feel as if nothing you do will ever be good enough? We often are forgiving and compassionate when it comes to other people, but turning that compassionate lens onto ourselves can be hard. But there are ways you can make self-compassion a habit.
If you find yourself constantly judging and criticizing yourself, some of the following techniques could be useful to you. You don’t have to practice all of them, you can just use the ones that resonate the most with you and start there.
What is Self-Compassion?
Self-compassion is a positive attitude towards yourself. It was first introduced in psychology literature by Associate Professor Dr. Kristin Neff and it is made up of three different constructs, these are: self-kindness, common humanity and mindfulness.
When you have self-compassion for yourself, you are able to relate to yourself in a forgiving, accepting and loving way, even during bad situations. It’s similar to self-love but less permanent, and it is different from having self-esteem. So, how can we show ourselves self-compassion?
Self-kindness is the opposite of self-judgment. It lets us hold space for understanding towards ourselves rather than being critical. Self-kindness is realizing that we are imperfect and that failing and facing difficulties in life is normal and that that is okay. When we realize that, we can treat ourselves with the love and patience that we deserve unconditionally.
– Give yourself love and tender care when going through a difficult time;
– Try to understand and show patience to yourself regarding your own perceived personal flaws;
– Be tolerant of your own shortcomings.
Common humanity is recognizing that you are part of a collective and have a need for a connection from others, as much as they need a connection from you. Instead of viewing your experiences as isolated from others, you are part of a whole. It is realizing that you are not alone and that others also go through negative situations and emotions, and rather than self-isolating,
you realize that others feel the same at times.
– Recognize your shortcomings as a normal part of the human condition
– View your difficulties as a part of life, that everyone goes through
– Remind yourself that others can feel inadequate sometimes, too
Mindfulness is being non-judgmental towards our thoughts and feelings, receiving them with clarity and openness so that they can be observed in a neutral manner. This is not suppressing nor denying what you feel or think. It is not being overwhelmed and overrun with our emotions, so much so that they sweep us away or cause us to react negatively.
– Aim to keep your feelings in balance when going through something upsetting
– Maintain perspective if you fail at something important to you
– Adopt emotions with curiosity and openness when you feel sad