Building self-compassion and respect for yourself is the most rewarding journey of your life, but it also takes work - which makes it so rewarding! When you know you have shown up for your growth and healing, you can’t help but feel empowered. You are taking charge of your own destiny! Nothing is more satisfying. This article is going to:
✔ change the way you think about your relationship with yourself
✔ explain what self-compassion is and why it is SO important
✔ give you 3 ways to practice self-compassion in your day-to-day
There are myriad reasons why we may feel underconfident, unempowered, or lack respect for ourselves. And at these times it is difficult to practice self-compassion; when we are caught in a self-deprecating loop, the last person we can freely be nice to is ourselves. Sound familiar?
When we feel under-confident, or have challenges with self-esteem, it can be difficult to experience joy in life. Things happen to us but we are busy in our heads, worrying about our problems. We can’t truly feel our experiences and appreciate life. Even when, on paper what we are doing is amazing, we can’t really feel it. We know we are supposed to be enjoying the awesome things that happen to us, but we can’t. We just can’t. Trust me, I’ve been there. I know the feeling. And at these times, the negativity in our minds makes it very difficult to change the story and start to feel good about ourselves. When the truth is, all we need to do is change our mindset and practice self-compassion, and our whole world will change for the better.
“It was when I stopped searching for home within others and lifted the foundations of home within myself I found there were no roots more intimate than those between a mind and body that have decided to be whole.” ~ Rupi Kaur
But don’t just trust me. Mountains of research testify to this fact, and underconfidence or low self-esteem is a common experience for humans across the world. Some people experience these feelings at intervals in their lives when dealing with stressful circumstances. Others feel them more consistently and as an intrinsic part of their life. But rest assured, if the latter is you, it most definitely does not define you. Speaking as someone who has experienced self-hatred, self-blame, and a huge lack of self-esteem, I promise you, you can feel happy and powerful. Yoga, meditation, affirmation, and journaling were the start of my journey - what will yours be?
Dr. Kristen Neff is a doctor of psychology who has been a trailblazer on this topic for 20 years. She has written multiple papers, books, and academic articles on self-compassion. She describes self-compassion as:
✔ having recognition of suffering
✔ feeling moved by suffering which thus elicits a heart-felt response of care or the desire to help
✔ a kind and understanding approach without judgement
✔ the wisdom to recognise that failure, imperfection and suffering are normal parts of shared human experience, and important to our growth.
Dr Neff states:
“Instead of mercilessly judging and criticizing yourself for various inadequacies or shortcomings, self-compassion means you are kind and understanding when confronted with personal failings – after all, who ever said you were supposed to be perfect?”
Self-compassion can be expressed in many different ways. It can be taking a bath with your favourite salts, practicing yoga or mindfulness, taking a walk in nature, or setting boundaries and standing up for yourself. And so much more. Journaling is an exercise that will increase the quality of your learning and help absorb and integrate the checkpoints along your journey. This kind of self-study is invaluable. And a key part of yoga. In fact, yoga is so powerful because it encompasses all of these elements in its very essence, and helps you find your own path. Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self ~ the Bhagavad Gita
Remember that the power to do this work is in your hands alone. Sure, you can seek external support and advice, teachers, tools, and practices. In fact, finding the right ones will be central to your growth, but you are the person that makes it happen and invites this into your day-to-day life. You are the one who finds the strength to change within yourself and manifests this into action. You are the one who decides that you don’t want to feel like this anymore. So you change it. You will never look back.
You were born with everything you need to be content already inside of you. It is only our external environment that changes the way we think about ourselves and creates doubt. We are constantly told, from the day we are born, we should be better, cleverer, thinner, prettier…we are constantly told that we have to ‘fit a mould’ to be accepted. Well, what if we don’t? There is a wave of freedom emerging, where people are realising that contentment does not lie outside of us. The constant seeking for bigger, better, braver, bolder, and for attaining goals that only bring more desperation to fill a gap: this - is - not - life. Or it doesn’t have to be.
Life is knowing yourself and what you stand for, finding pleasure in a morning cup of tea, waking up excited for the day, noticing the way the petals of a flower fold so perfectly against each other, and yet each one completely different; an exquisite natural formation of unique elements, born that way, fulfilling its purpose just by existing, and perfectly imperfect. There is much wisdom in nature, as Albert Einstein said:
“ Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. ” ~ Albert Einstein
Life is feeling a serene peace as a gentle summer breeze brushes your face and your breath softly guides your rhythm. In this way, we can be busy, successful, challenged, and troubled and still find peace in the subtle experiences of life. In the gentle ebb and flow of a body maintaining life so miraculously, yet so effortlessly, that we don’t even notice it most of the time.
Here are 3 ways you can bring more self-compassion into your life:
🌱 When you make a mistake, look for the positives or learning opportunities in the situation and remind yourself, you don't have to be perfect! 🌱 Practice self-care - be good to your body, eat healthy, take rest. 🌱 Mindfulness practice - learn to know yourself and the way your mind works, remembering most centrally, that you are not your thoughts.
Whether you are at the start of your journey in feeling joy through just being you, through finding epic pleasure in the most simple experiences of existence, or if you are having a difficult time and need to boost your vibes and bring your energy up again, then you are exactly where you need to be.
I promise it will be a beautiful and empowering ride.
With love and good vibes,
x Becky x