Updated: Nov 18, 2021
As our world continues to face this global pandemic, we may be feeling restless, frustrated, lonely and many other feelings. Meet yourself with self-compassion, know you are not alone and this is not permanent.
Practicing self-compassion is no different than practicing compassion towards others. In order to have compassion, you must recognize the suffering in others. So, to practice self-compassion is to recognize that you are suffering. Rather than criticizing yourself for a mistake, shortcoming or what you might see as a failure, self-compassion means that you are kind and understanding to yourself.
Kristen Neff, a psychologist who researches self-compassion, says there are three main components to self-compassion:
Mindfulness: Awareness or acknowledgment of what's going on for you emotionally
A feeling of common humanity: Recognize that other people share this common experience
Self-kindness: Put your hands on your heart and say something kind to yourself
It can be so challenging to practice self-compassion in a moment of suffering. Believe me, I've been there! What I have noticed when I do practice self-compassion and I take literally 30 seconds to do this practice, I feel so much better. My mind is calmer, I feel a sense of ease and relief. It can be hard to imagine that others feel the way you do, but when you remember there are 7.8 billion people in the world, you know that someone out there is experiencing what you are.
Self-Compassion Practice by Kristen Neff
When a challenging or difficult situation, emotion, or your inner critic surface, place your hands on your heart, take three deep breaths and say to yourself:
"This is a moment of suffering. Suffering is a part of life. May I be kind to myself in this moment. May I give myself the compassion I need."
Tip: You can use other words that feel right for you, they don't need to be the above words.
Here are some other examples:
"This feels challenging. I am not alone. May be strong."
"This is boredom. We all feel bored in our lives. May I be patient."
"This hurts. Other people feel this way. May I accept myself as I am."
Benefits of Self-Compassion
✦ Increases motivation
✦ Boosts happiness
✦ Improves body image
✦ Enhances self-worth
✦ Fosters resilience
✦ Reduces mental health problems, including anxiety, depression and stress
I encourage you to practice self-compassion as many times a day that you need, it only takes 30 seconds and provides so many benefits!