How good are you at practicing self-compassion?

Self-compassion is supporting and understanding yourself during difficult times the same way you’d do for others. For people-pleasers especially, it can be hard to put themselves first and give themselves the same care, attention, and thought that they give to other people.

Some people have to learn self-compassion, and that’s okay. Consistent practice can lead to higher self-esteem, improved moods, increased confidence, mindfulness, and much more. It’s important to prioritize your emotional and mental health so you can be the best version of yourself possible.

If you want to show yourself more compassion, here are 3 tips to help you get started.

Treat Yourself Like a Friend

Due to specific circumstances in your childhood, you may find it difficult to be as nurturing to yourself as you are to others. But you can’t pour from an empty cup, so the longer you neglect taking care of yourself, the less you can be there for those you care about. 

If it’s difficult for you to show yourself compassion at first, take yourself out of the equation. Think of yourself in the third person or imagine yourself standing in front of you like you’re a friend. 

Ask meaningful questions to better understand yourself. What would you say to yourself during a difficult time? How would you comfort yourself knowing you’re going through something? How can you comfort and reassure yourself without feeding into your negative thought patterns?

For it to stick, you need to do this exercise regularly. Allow yourself to mess up, make mistakes, and feel emotional. Remember that healing is not a linear process and it’s okay for old feelings to come up. Use forgiving, kind language when speaking to yourself. You can even reach around to give your body a hug.

Learn Self-Awareness

For any type of behavioral change to occur, you need a strong sense of self-awareness. Self-awareness involves a better understanding of who you are and why you think, feel, and behave the way you do. It’s a conscious knowledge of your own thoughts, feelings, and character. Practicing regularly will allow you to build successful relationships with others but, most importantly, with yourself. 

To have compassion for yourself, you need to practice self-awareness and acknowledge where you stand with yourself first. When you know you speak unkindly yourself, you have the tools to change that behavior. But without recognizing it, you can’t change it. 

You can practice self-awareness in many ways, including:

  • Paying attention to how you respond to a situation. If you feel yourself getting angry or upset, why are those feelings occurring? What about it bothers you?
  • Mindful meditation. Sitting with your emotions and thoughts and letting them pass without judgment is the ultimate act of kindness. It allows you to see into yourself and understand your triggers.
  • Learning what triggers you. Pay attention to extreme patterns of thinking and bodily reactions when you start to feel triggered. In doing so, you can identify the root of the problem like why these feelings occurred in the first place. 

Quit Seeking External Validation

If you put all your focus on what other people think of you, it’ll be much harder to actively practice self-compassion. To be happy with yourself, you need to build your confidence and put less importance on others’ opinions. 

While it’s easier said than done, it’s crucial to quit seeking approval and validation from others, even those you love. You may care about your friends and family while they care about you, but that doesn’t mean they know what’s best for you. Only you know who you truly are and what you want.

To extend compassion to yourself, learn how to place less importance on what other people think, no matter who they are. How others perceive you has nothing to do with you. Once you understand this, it becomes much easier to communicate with yourself instead of running to others for their thoughts.

Over to You

Giving yourself the same compassion you give to others can change your life and make you a more fulfilled person. It’s difficult enough to navigate the world we live in without extending compassion to ourselves. Make sure you remember to put yourself first so you can lead a happier life. How will you practice self-compassion?