Reading Time: 3 minutes

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
You must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.

—Naomi Shihab Nye, poet

 

Compassion is how we respond to the suffering of others. It is about acknowledging, becoming aware of suffering that is a part of our shared human condition that spares no one. Everyone deserves compassion and is worthy of it, including your own self. Self compassion is compassion directed inwards and treating yourself as you would a friend who is having a hard time.

We are much more likely to notice, react to, and remember unpleasant and negative experiences due to our brain's inherent “negativity bias” than positive ones. This has ensured the survival of our species for millions of years and our brains are hard wired for this.

However, we now know that by cultivating positive emotions like gratitude, joy, kindness, love, appreciation, we can shift our nervous system from the “fight or flight” to the “tend and befriend” mode. This would help us to connect, collaborate with others and we make us feel more secure, accepted and alive. By being kind to ourselves and being mindful of our pain in difficult times helps us to deal with it in a more non judgemental and kind manner.

In this way, mindful self compassion helps us to shift from the negative to the positive allowing us to not only feel better but function better.

 

Why self compassion is important

 

Research shows that those who treat themselves with compassion tend to be happier, have more life satisfaction, have better relationships, and less mental health issues. More importantly, they are more resilient when dealing with stressful events in their lives.

With compassion, we are able to tend to our pain without resisting it even when we feel upset. When we are able to accept that we are suffering and wish to feel better just like anyone else, we can start healing from it. By showing ourselves the compassion that we deserve we are mindful of our struggles and respond to ourselves with compassion, kindness in difficult times and embrace our life as it is.

 

Self compassion is a gift

 

Self compassion is a gift that is available to anyone who is willing to look within themselves and pay attention

 

We need to stop believing that we are NOT worthy of our own love and compassion! That somehow we have done nothing to deserve it!

You deserve to feel better when you are facing difficult moments or challenges in your life. Your suffering is not a personal flaw but a natural instinct that is part of being human. The thing is, the more open hearted you are towards yourself, the more connected you will feel with the rest of the world. Indeed, self compassion is the foundation for genuine kindness towards others.

At the end of the day, it is quite natural to want to help someone who's suffering, someone whom you know well and you know you can really help. At times this person will be someone else in your life, at other times it will be YOU!

 

Self compassion...

 

-is NOT selfish

-does not make you self centred

-is not the same as self pity

 

Most of us are not taught how to actively comfort and take care of ourselves when we are in pain. When we are not able to honour our own pain, it can become difficult to truly care for another the way we would like to.

No matter how difficult life gets, you can always find a way to soothe and comfort yourself just like you would your child who comes crying to you in pain. You do not have to wait till things get better, the situation settles down completely or your life becomes exactly what you want it to be.

 

You can start today, at this very moment…

by treating yourself just as you would a friend

You can listen to the podcast episode “Treating yourself like a friend“ where I coach you on how to do this.