Self-Compassion has been a pretty important practice in my life. I am not a person who is naturally compassionate toward myself. In fact, when I started to learn about self-compassion, I was pretty dismissive of it – why would I need to worry about how I talk to myself? But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that if I didn’t consider how I talked to myself, I fell into some pretty negative thoughts. When I noticed what I was thinking about myself, it was harsh stuff like “You’re not good at this,” or “She’s so much better at this than you.” Things I would never say to someone else, but I was saying to myself almost constantly inside my own head!
So I started to really study self-compassion, and took some courses from the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion (https://centerformsc.org/), and found myself loving a new way of speaking to myself. Recognizing when I’m having harsh thoughts, I can choose to substitute in an affirmation instead, or a comforting phrase like, “It’s okay. You did the best you could.” One of the core pieces of self-compassion is talking to ourselves the way we would talk to a loved one, maybe to our child. If someone we cared about was hurting or struggling, we would be kind, soothing, gentle. This voice feels so good to give to yourself as well.
Self-compassion is about 1) being mindful of what you are experiencing, 2) taking a warm, caring approach to yourself in that moment, and 3) recognizing the shared humanity that we are a part of, that the struggles we have are also experienced by so many others. We are a part of something bigger than us. This thought can be comforting when we feel like we’re alone in what we’re dealing with.
Take a few moments today to check in with yourself and see how you are feeling and how you are talking to yourself. Consider if there is a kind, gentle way to speak to yourself when you’re struggling, that makes you feel peaceful and connected, instead of isolated or anxious.