Think of the last time you made a mistake. How did you feel? For a lot of us, our first reaction can be to self-criticize. We may tell ourselves things like “of course, I always do things like this” or “I never get anything right.” Now think of the last time you did something well. For many of us, this may be a much harder task, regardless of how often we succeed.
Why is this important?
Simply put, self-compassion means being kind and caring towards ourselves. While self-compassion may seem like a simple idea, it is one that runs counter to how many of us have learned to think. Practicing self-compassion can improve resilience and motivation, while lowering symptoms of anxiety and depression.
4 ways to practice self-compassion
- Talk to yourself how you talk to a loved one: We tend to be our own harshest critics. When a loved one makes a mistake, would you respond by telling them that they never get anything right? Why not? What would you say instead?
- Practice self-acceptance: We all have strengths and weaknesses, yet we often hold ourselves to the impossible standard of perfection. When we do this, anytime we fall short, our self-confidence crumbles. Accepting ourselves, even in our imperfection, helps us build resiliency.
- Write it out: Journal about your inner experience without judging or trying to change it. What emotions are you feeling? What do you need?
- Avoid cognitive distortions: One important example of this is overgeneralizing. Overgeneralizing means applying a conclusion too broadly. For example, when you tell yourself that you “always” do something you are likely overgeneralizing. Stick to the situation at hand; eliminate the “always” and “never” from your self-talk.
-By Amber Morton