We have all heard the statement “you are your biggest critic”, and this couldn’t be more true. Most often, we unconditionally offer kindness and love to the people we interact with in our everyday life, but somehow when it comes to ourselves, we fall short.
Self-compassion: to offer love and kindness to yourself in the way that you offer it to your loved ones. According to Kristin Neff, a self-compassion researcher, there are three key components involved in creating self-compassion:
- Mindfulness: being aware of your negative thoughts and feelings without judging or focusing on them.
- Common Humanity: considering that we are all human and thus have imperfections.
- Self-Kindness: showing yourself kindness and understanding that as a human, you are bound to have imperfections.
Although this may be a foreign concept, every single person is worthy of generating self-compassion. There has been more of a focus on this topic in the research world, and there is strong connection between self-compassion and psychological well-being. Essentially, being able to show yourself love and kindness will help you to feel more worthy and will also help you in your relationships with others. So how do we cultivate more self love and kindness?
- Be Mindful
Have you ever stopped to notice the things you are constantly saying to yourself throughout the day? For many of us, the negative feelings we have towards ourselves are on repeat in our own mind. The first step in creating self-compassion is becoming aware of these thoughts. Work on observing the thoughts that you have. Be curious and withhold judgement. Ask yourself: are these thoughts helpful, or are they self destructive?
- Change the Narrative
Once you have gained insight into the thoughts you have, work on changing the ongoing conversation in your mind. Making an error means that you are human, and usually the greatest growth stems from making mistakes. Think about what you would say to a friend and create your own mantra. We are bound to make mistakes – if you have a mantra to go to in these moments, you can start to replace the negative self-talk with positive affirmations. For example:
“I accept myself with love, respect and kindness”
- Nurture Yourself
We often take the time to nurture our relationships with others, but don’t prioritize this time for ourselves. Taking time to care for yourself is not selfish – it allows you to generate more self love and kindness, and this will also contribute to showing up more in your relationships with others. It is truly a win-win situation. Start by thinking of things that bring you joy, and work to incorporate components of this into your everyday. Go for a walk, read a book or bake cookies, or listen to your favorite music. What matters most is that it brings you joy, and only you can decide what that looks like.