How to Start Practicing Self-Compassion

Katie LairdPsychotherapy

We are often not our own best friends. It can be easy to be hard on yourself about the ups and downs of everyday life, meeting your own and others expectations of you, and only seeing the negative in yourself while being blind to the positives. If you struggle with negative self-talk, you would likely never say the things you say to yourself to a friend or family member. How would your life be different if you could treat yourself with more self-compassion, the way that you would treat a loved one?

What is Self-Compassion?

Kristin Neff, a self-compassion researcher, defined self-compassion according to the following three concepts:

  1. Being kind and understanding towards yourself, as opposed to self-critical. 
  2. Understanding that making mistakes and having shortcomings is part of the larger human condition, instead feeling isolated and inferior to others.
  3. The ability to take a mindfulness approach toward painful emotions. Mindfulness allows you to experience non-judgmental awareness of your thoughts and feelings without overidentifying or becoming overwhelmed by your internal state.

Self-Compassion Tips

  1. Instead of criticizing yourself for a mistake or perceived shortcoming, say something to yourself like “This is really hard for me. What do I need to feel better, and how can I comfort myself in this moment?”
  2. Employ a growth mindset in which challenges are an opportunity for personal growth, and you have patience with yourself while learning something new.
  3. Accept that it is okay to make mistakes. Learn from them and let them go.
  4. Talk to yourself the way that you would talk to a friend or family member.
  5. Realize when you are only seeing the negatives, and ignoring the positives.

If you want to start working on your own self-compassion visit to book your appointment or call us at 403-454-7600.