Self compassion - what is it? And how do you do it?

confidence coaching self compassion May 15, 2020

Photo by Saltanat Zhursinbek on Unsplash

You know, I’ve always thought we should all be kinder to ourselves, though in the past, really it was another one of those rules that applies to you not me!


Do you have that too? Do you find yourself seeing a quote reminding you to be kind to yourself and then still somehow find that your next thought isn’t that kind? So many of us do this! So many of my clients will say something along the lines of “I know, I know I should be kinder to myself!” 


This is one of the “shoulds” I’m going to hold you to because yes you should be kinder to yourself! I am guessing each and every one of you reading this could do with a bout of self compassion right?


So what is self compassion, what does it really look like? It looks like not giving yourself a hard time, it looks like talking to yourself and treating yourself the way you would someone who is really precious to you. 


For example, if someone you really care about made a mistake would you say to them;


“you stupid idiot, why do you always make mistakes like that?! You need to try harder, so and so wouldn’t have made that mistake!”


No you wouldn’t, would you? If someone you really care about made a mistake you might say;


“Oh dear, that didn’t go so well did it, what can we do to make it right?” 


or you might say 


“You’re only human, nothing bad happened.”


What about if a friend you really care about has a ‘not so great part about them’, for example, what if they came to you to talk about the fact that they were really rude to someone that day who didn’t deserve it, would you say to them;


“You idiot, you shouldn’t have done that, you are always so rude, no wonder no-one likes you!”


Or would you say;


“Hmm, how did that go?”




“O.K, so it’s happened already, what can you do to make it right?”


I’m guessing for both of these you’d choose the second or third option for your friend you care about right? I’m also guessing you would choose the first one if you were to apply it to yourself?


Now let me ask you, which response would make you feel better? You don’t deserve to feel better I hear you say! Don’t you? Why don’t you? Does making yourself feel better stop you from making it right? Does making yourself feel better change the mistake? Does it stop the mistake from happening again? The answer is no, and that’s the reason you wouldn’t say those first options to your friend, because you would want your friend to feel better, AND you would want your friend to be able to either learn from the mistake or, in the rude example you’d want them to make it right.


To treat yourself the same way you would a friend you really care about, would be to show yourself compassion.

Photo by Darius Bashar on Unsplash

So how can you be compassionate towards yourself?


Step 1 is to notice it. Pay attention to your response towards yourself this next week, do you call yourself stupid? Do you roll your eyes at yourself? Do you beat yourself up for things?


Step 2 is to challenge it, say to yourself “ok, I’m about to give myself a hard time, what do I want to achieve?”. You may want to make it better (if you’ve made a mistake), you may want to learn from it, you may want to make it right, make up for it.


Step 3 is to ask yourself, “can I achieve what I want to achieve AND make myself feel better?” I guarantee the answer is yes! If you want to make it right, or learn from it, or make up for it then you absolutely can take that action WITHOUT the step of making yourself feel bad.


Simply put, the answer to how you can be self compassionate is to stop giving yourself a hard time, stop being cruel to yourself and start to show yourself the kindness you would show to your friend who you really care about!

Would you like some help to figure out how to be kind to yourself? Would you like some help to figure out how to really learn from your mistakes? Reach out to me here and let's have a quick chat about how I can help you. 

Photo by Darius Bashar on Unsplash

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