Are you super-critical of yourself? Do you set high standards for yourself to meet? Do you believe you should punish yourself for your shortcomings rather than treat yourself kindly? If you are like this, how can you change your thinking? A good place to start is to offer yourself self-compassion.
Research shows that accepting our imperfections and giving ourselves a break may lead to better health. People who score high on tests of self-compassion tend to be happier and more optimistic and have less depression and anxiety.
Those who don’t like themselves often feel that they don’t deserve their own kindness and compassion. However, we can extend compassion to ourselves even without necessarily liking ourselves. Self-compassion is the ability to relate to the emotional state of oneself. Self-compassion stands alone and is given freely without limitations. While self-compassion suspends judgment, it encourages us to see ourselves honestly and it is not to be confused with self-indulgence or lowered standards.
Self-compassion involves recognizing that suffering and personal failures are part of the shared human experience. By offering yourself compassion, you acknowledge and forgive, rather than ignore or criticize, your own suffering, difficulties, and personal shortcomings.
Self-compassion is founded on self-kindness. Instead of condemning ourselves and our mistakes, we try to understand and accept our shortcomings and negative emotions. Then, we actively offer comfort and sympathy to ourselves instead of criticism.
Self-compassion has the added element of wanting to alleviate or reduce suffering. By extending this determination to help yourself feel better, you will naturally begin to treat yourself more kindly and gently. Offering compassion to yourself can help you distance yourself from destructive self-criticism. Many find that once they begin to consistently offer themselves self-compassion, they begin to escape the damaging effects of self-criticism. As a result, they begin to be more comfortable with themselves and they begin to like themselves more.
Research studies show that self-compassionate individuals experience greater psychological health, including well-being, happiness, optimism, social connections, and emotional resilience, than those who do not extend compassion to themselves. Those who score high on self-compassion are also less likely to experience self-criticism, depression, anxiety, thought suppression, and perfectionism.
Self-compassion can be developed by anyone. By deliberately establishing a practice of extending good will toward ourselves, especially during times of suffering, we can reverse old habits and develop self-compassion. Research has also shown that self-compassion can be heightened by acting compassionately toward others. Taking the opportunity to support other people can also make you feel better about what you’re going through.
Give yourself a break and offer yourself self-compassion. Break your life-long habit of self-criticism and reap the benefits of increased happiness, reduced stress, and improved psychological health.
Do you believe that you need to be hard on yourself in order to succeed? Do you think showing yourself compassion is a weakness and only a feel-good way to coddle yourself? Would you change your mind about this if you learned that self-compassion can increase your sense of well-being and ability to cope with life?
Studies have shown that self-compassion is strongly associated with well-being. Self-compassion goes beyond not being critical or mean to yourself. Self-compassion means treating yourself in a caring, understanding, and loving way by offering yourself warmth and non-judgmental understanding instead of berating yourself with self-criticism. Unlike self-esteem, the good feelings of self-compassion do not depend on feeling better in relation to others. Instead, self-compassion is based on embracing the full range of your human strengths and weaknesses.
Self-criticism is a way of life for many. In our highly competitive society, it is not uncommon for us to look for the flaws and shortcomings in others as well as ourselves. Most of our self-critical thoughts are in the form of an inner dialogue, a running (and often brutal) commentary and evaluation of what we are experiencing. This self-criticism can create a mind-state that is defeated, dissatisfied, and anxious.
The best way to combat self-criticism is to understand it and to have compassion for it. Recognize your self-criticism as your attempt to keep yourself safe and to control your life. While you may feel that you need to use self-criticism to motivate yourself, research has shown that self-compassionate people are just as likely to set and meet high standards for themselves as those who lack self-compassion. Recognize that you can more effectively provide security for yourself by giving up self-judgment and by giving yourself compassion and acceptance for your very human experiences.
Self-compassion increases your ability to adapt and relate to yourself when faced with personal inadequacies or difficult life circumstances. If, when under stress, you are nasty to yourself, you ignite mental and physical stress reactions, and compromise your ability to adapt. By showing yourself compassion, you can reduce your anxiety, improve your confidence, and increase your resilience and happiness. Studies have shown that self-compassionate people are more likely to create specific plans for reaching their goals and to create balanced lives.
To have a fuller, happier, and more satisfying life, stop judging yourself! Be a friend to yourself and treat yourself with the same caring and compassion that you would extend to a friend or even a stranger. True compassion Is extended regardless of worthiness or merit. Extend true compassion to yourself!