SELF-CARE QUARTER: The Importance of Self-Compassion

SELF-CARE QUARTER: The Importance of Self-Compassion

 

“Compassion isn’t some kind of self-improvement project or ideal that we’re trying to live up to. Having compassion starts and ends with having compassion for all those unwanted parts of ourselves, all those imperfections that we don’t even want to look at” – Pema Chodron

 

Self-compassion is a way of relating to our selves with curiosity, acceptance and kindness, particularly during times of stress or hardship. It involves seeing our struggles within the wider context of human experience and understanding that we are not alone in our difficulties. To practice self-compassion, it is helpful to see it as a process with three key features:

 

  1. Mindfulness – bringing mindful awareness to our experience so that we are able to notice when we are feeling distressed and take a balanced view of the situation, rather than ignoring it or getting overwhelmed by it.

 

  1. Self-Kindness – responding to ourselves with kindness and concern when we are struggling, rather than engaging in harsh judgment or self-blame.

 

  1. Interconnectedness – seeing that failure, difficulties, and downfalls are things that everybody goes through.

 

Self-compassion can be learned (no matter how self-critical, stressed, or disconnected we might feel). Self-compassion can help us to manage stressful situations more effectively, feel happier and emotionally balanced, and be more motivated to engage with our experiences and learn from them. Self-compassion involves developing empathy, distress tolerance, and the motivation to practice self-care.

Now take a minute to think about these questions: How is your current self-care balance? How do you typically react to stress? How much do you already understand and apply self-compassion concepts and skills in your life?

You can try to implement self-compassion by imagining a deeply compassionate and unconditionally accepting person, and considering how they would treat you in a difficult situation. Self-compassion is a form of acceptance. Whereas acceptance usually refers to what is happening to us (accepting a feeling or a thought) self-compassion is acceptance of the person to whom it is happening. It is acceptance of ourselves while we are in pain.

 

“The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself”

 

Want to learn more?

  1. Dr Kristin Neff (PhD, Professor in Educational Psychology)
    www.self-compassion.org
    “Self-compassion: stop beating yourself and leave insecurity behind”
  2. Dr Brene Brown (PhD, Researcher, Social Worker)
    www.brenebrown.com
    Look at book list and descriptions to pick based on your own interests
  3. Dr Christopher Germer (PhD, Clinical Psychologist)
    www.mindfulselfcompassion.org
    “The mindful path to self-compassion”
  4. Dr Russ Harris
    http://www.actmindfully.com.au/home

 

By Katerina Chin- A-Loy
Psychology at Vida Psychology

You can read more about Katerina here, and book an appointment with her here.

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