Compassion, at its core, is all about connecting with other people. It's about understanding when someone is going through a tough time and how it feels. When we show compassion to others, we create a powerful connection built on empathy, and one that can grow stronger over time.
While we may be more familiar with compassion as an emotional response towards others, it can also a response towards our own experiences. Yes, we can be compassionate towards ourselves. We call this ‘self-compassion’.
Self-compassion is an understanding of your own struggles and how they make you feel. It's the opposite of being overly critical or passing harsh judgment on yourself.
Give yourself what you need
When someone faces many difficulties, the natural response, therefore, is to empathise with them, and offer support and understanding. So, why don’t we have this natural response towards ourselves?
In fact, you need to be self-compassionate just as much as you are compassionate towards others. Self-compassion can enhance your overall wellbeing. It's an essential tool to help you navigate your daily ups and downs.
Self-compassion may also act as a shield against shame and guilt. These feelings tend to
thrive in environments devoid of empathy and understanding. When you're kind to yourself, you create a safe space where it’s difficult for shame to take root.
You can't always meet every expectation or avoid every mistake. Self-compassion should serve as a reminder that, despite your failings, your intentions are rarely selfish or neglectful.
Self-compassion may help to rewrite the stories you tell yourself. It may help to replace negativity with a more positive perspective and, therefore, a clearer understanding of how to deal with a situation.
The missing ingredient
Self-compassion is a crucial ingredient for mental wellbeing. It's an important reminder that you can't control every aspect of your life and that is perfectly acceptable.
When doubt, fear, or anger creep into your life, it's essential to respond with self-compassion.
Be kind, gentle and considerate to yourself.