3 Ways to Practice More Self-Compassion

A women's fingers are silhouetted against the setting sun in the shape of a heart

Depending on where you live you may be longing for more sunshine during the winter months. But…do you ever think to remember the sunshine within you?

Because you’re a ray of sunshine in so many people’s lives…

They see what you’re doing and the strong person you are. And they love you for all of you – the good and the “bad.”

But if you’re anything like me, you probably have days when you struggle to see your own sunshine. 

The voice of the inner critic can bring unnecessary clouds to our days. It makes us much harsher on ourselves than we should be.

It can come while you’re working on a project, nagging that “you could be doing this better and faster”…

Or perhaps it’s a background sense of anxiety that you should be doing more…

However it manifests for you, there’s a way to overcome it.

By learning to practice the essential skill of self-compassion. 

In helping you cultivate a kinder relationship with yourself, this skill will help you boost resilience, release stress, and increase joy.

What is self-compassion? 

The best way to understand and apply self-compassion is to think about compassion as it relates to others.

When you feel compassion towards another, you see another human being who is learning and evolving. You understand they experience the pains and pleasures of life. That they have good days and bad days – just like you do.

With self-compassion you recognize the humanity in yourself. 

You learn to turn towards yourself with kindness rather than judgement…even when you make mistakes.

If you’ve been your own worst critic for a while, this can take practice. 

But eventually you’ll find yourself feeling more empowered as you forgive your own so-called “imperfections.” 

Practice more self-compassion in your life with these tips….

1. Make a list of positive affirmations about yourself
Over the next week, write down 5 things that you like about yourself each day. Recognize your strengths and celebrate your wins. At the end of the week, you’ll have a list of 35 positive affirmations you can turn to when you’re being harsh on yourself. Use these to soften any negative feelings you have towards yourself. Try this exercise with your little one, helping them identify their strengths too.

2. Create a “Happy Folder” of compliments
Make a folder – a physical one or in your computer – where you write down other people’s compliments of you. Whether they’ve commented on your wonderful character traits, physical features or the great work you do, keep track of it all in one place. This gives you another tool to turn to when you’re feeling like you’re not good enough. Encourage your child to keep a mental note of all the good things people tell them. Have them share it with you at the end of each day.

3. Get in touch with your inner child
Practice giving attention to your inner child – especially when you’re having a hard time or going through difficult emotions. What is that little girl needing? Recognize that she deserves to be listened to, loved, and supported just like your actual child does. Instead of being hard on her when she makes a mistake, see how you can meet her with kindness. Your little one can also do the same, perhaps picturing how they would treat a younger sibling or a friend and then applying the same gentleness to themselves.

Kindness is an infinite resource so share it freely – especially with the woman looking back at you in the mirror. She deserves it.

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