Practicing Self-Compassion to Improve Well-Being
At the heart of the new therapy of self-compassion is the question, "Do you treat yourself as well as you treat your friends and family?" And the answer is frequently "No." We often treat others with acceptance and kindness but not ourselves.
Self-compassion is closely related to having compassion for others (Kristin Neff). In both situations you offer gentle understanding and kindness upon failures or mistakes, not harsh judgments. When times are tough, you need to tell yourself it is a difficult time, and ask "How can I comfort and care for myself at this very moment rather than beat myself up." You need to treat yourself with kindness, not relentless self-criticism.
Research indicates that you will have other positives such as less anxiety and depression, and more acceptance, optimism and positive emotions. When life dishes out lemons, you are less likely to feel humiliated or incompetent and more likely to think realistically positive thoughts such as, "I can survive this" or "Everyone makes mistakes." Research also indicates that being kind to oneself does not lead to laziness, self-indulgence, or lowered aspirations.
If you are interested in knowing much more about self-compassion and having access to more audio exercises, visit Dr. Kristin Neff's webpage.
Below is a loving/kindness meditation that starts with a relaxation exercise and then moves into the self-compassion portion of the audio session.
Link to Meditation Exercise:
- Self-Compassion/Loving-Kindness Meditation (Barbara Neff)
- Loving / Kindness Meditation (ISU)