By Adrian Sullivan, Co-Founder and President of Rockstaws Incorporated
Self-compassion is treating yourself with unbounded care and kindness in spite of the challenges life throws at you. Having self-compassion allows you to positively move your life forward.
It’s very easy to be your biggest critic and feel down when things do not go as intended. However, having a hyper-critical mindset tends to focus on past failures. Instead of harping on what we did not do well, we need to learn from our mishaps and create better plans. Having self-compassion reframes failures and setbacks as valuable lessons.
In my experience, entering adulthood is difficult because of the change of systems we’ve grown accustomed to—The systems that either parents, guardians or school provided begins to be our full responsibility. For this reason, self-compassion is needed as we get accustomed to these growing pains.
Anything you practice good habits towards will grow. Naturally, we don’t have much experience in primarily caring for ourselves so we tend to struggle. Struggling with new challenges is normal and to be expected. The power of self-compassion allows us to provide the self-care that was handled by parents and systems in our early developmental years.
In a world where a lot of things are naturally against you, you have to make sure you aren’t against yourself. Growing to be your biggest cheerleader and motivator is what self-compassion is all about. Self-compassion can also help boost your happiness by helping you become mindful of your internal dialogue. How do you respond when something goes wrong in your life? Are your thoughts and actions bringing you down or uplifting you? Once you develop this consciousness, you are able to assess your self-compassion level and gradually raise it.
Having self-compassion will also positively benefit those around you. It is a journey to work on being the person who treats themselves with love, kindness and care. Making those decisions for yourself will motivate you to encourage those close to you to do the same. Here are three tips on how you can start practicing self-compassion.
Remember Not Everything Happens Overnight
We have to realize that not everything happens overnight. Having patience with yourself to see your endeavors through is a way to practice self-compassion. We have to make ourselves comfortable with the process of being better. Any process in our life that is progressive will not be linear nor easy. Accepting this will allow you to embrace the struggle of getting from point A to point B.
Accept That It’s Okay To Make Mistakes
You are human and will make mistakes—that’s okay. Take accountability for mistakes you make and create better habits. Having self-compassion means that you care enough to not want to make the same mistakes. Learning from the past and responding well to adversity is one of the best ways we can develop self-compassion.
Embrace Mindfulness and Positive Intention
Being as intentional as possible is another great way to show self-compassion. When we are not measured, we are not being a friend to ourselves. Take time to be as thorough as possible to the situations you encounter. Thinking through your decisions and their impact is a long-lasting self-compassion habit to build.
Practicing Self-Compassion Is a Marathon, Not a Sprint
Don’t emphasize the things that are going wrong. Self-compassion can help you emphasize things that are going right or neutral. I invite you to align yourself with the virtues of your self-compassion, which is a true form of self-care and self-love. Let’s empower ourselves by treating ourselves how we deserve to be treated. Do you want to pat yourself on the back or bring yourself down?
If we water and nurture ourselves, we will have taken a huge step in showing self-compassion. Let’s show up for ourselves and be in our own corners every day.
Adrian Sullivan is the co-founder and president of Rockstaws Incorporated (RSI), a black-owned media agency based in Philadelphia. He is also a driven mental health advocate, focusing on mental wellness, nourishment and growth. Follow Adrian on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.