Self compassion: Why it is important

Self compassion: Why it is important

We are moved by the pain of others, we feel the pain of others, we take the time and effort to comfort those in pain. That’s human nature.

Now, take time to think for yourself -- how would you respond if you were having a troublesome day or if things were not going the way you had planned them to be.

Will you offer the same amount of care to yourself?

Self-compassion is compassion for self -- kindness, care, and understanding directed towards ourselves when we make mistakes, or face a failure.

It is the acknowledgement of our own pain. It is an admission of the fact that we are after all human and that we will also encounter difficult situations.

It is not uncommon for many to reject the idea of self-compassion, believing that having compassion for self just leads to a practice of legitimizing poor behavior or engagement in unnecessary indulgences.

However, research on self-compassion has unearthed a wealth of evidence refuting that claim.

In fact, there are many benefits to practicing self-compassion.

Some tips for practicing self-compassion:

      Acknowledge your pain: Notice when you are hurting, and allow yourself to mourn the fact that you are not perfect. Resist the temptation to pretend like nothing is wrong or that your feelings don’t matter.
      Adopt a new perspective: View the world through the lens of a best friend or a person who cares deeply about you. When you’re tempted to be self-critical or judgmental, try to speak to yourself as someone who cares about you would. Think about what they might say to encourage and comfort you.
      Practice: Being self-compassionate is not an innate quality, and it may or may not have been a skill that we learned from our parents. But as adults, we can choose to practice this skill until it becomes a second nature to us. Take five minutes at the end of each day and write about the worst thing that happened to you during the day. Here is the twist. Pretend that you’re writing about it from the perspective of someone who cares deeply about you. Research shows that participants reported experiencing a greater sense of happiness after just one week practicing it. All it takes is a few caring moments a day, and they can work wonders.

So, what distinguishes people with self-compassion from those who don’t?

      They procrastinate less: Compared to those who try to use guilt, shame, or fear as motivators to complete a project or goal, the self-compassionate people spend less time dragging their feet when it comes time to performing a task.
      They re-engage after failure: They accept a perceived or real failure readily, but begin being caring towards themselves and therefore, are much more likely to get back on their feet much quicker and move on.
      They believe in being more accountable: Contrary to popular assumption, self-compassion does not relieve a person of the ownership of a problem. Rather, it actually serves to assist them to make a more realistic assessment of their own role in perpetuating the problem.

      They are open to feedback: They do not feel threatened by others’ feedback about them. This is because those who practice self-compassion are confident of their ability to take a negative feedback in their stride and go on to recover from its ill-effects.