We are often told that treating others with compassion makes the world a better place. Compassion, which is defined as the "sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings and misfortunes of others", allows us to establish, build, and strengthen relationships with people through a genuine understanding of their plight. If you've been showing compassion to those around you, have you been directing the same care and attention towards yourself?
Self-compassion is offering the same kind of understanding and kindness to yourself and avoiding merciless judgment and criticisms in response to personal failings. Having compassion for yourself enables honoring and accepting your humanity, along with its natural flaws.
Practicing self-compassion opens your heart further and makes you better appreciate the complex but rewarding experiences that life has in store. Here are some tips to start the habit of self-compassion and relate to yourself more today:
- Love your body. Indulge in healthy food for nourishment. Take a break from your daily responsibilities by pampering yourself with a massage or walking around the neighborhood to clear your head.
- Write and reflect. Nurture your feelings by going back to a time where you felt a lot of pain. Jot down your thoughts in a notebook, describing the situation without pointing fingers at anyone. This documentation is a good piece to look back on when you want to celebrate how far you've come mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
- Shower yourself with positive affirmations. Put yourself in the shoes of the people who you've comforted in the past. What would they want to hear as they are going through a difficult phase? Tell yourself the compassionate responses that you would generously give others.
- Practice mindfulness. Breathing and stretching exercises can be great activities that will help you find your center. Having peaceful moments like these can lead to easier acceptance of our feelings.
You can't pour from an empty cup. As such, show compassion to yourself by maintaining a healthy body, nurturing your feelings by revisiting past events and celebrating your progress, telling yourself that you are enough, and being mindful about the state of your well-being. Kindness starts within you. Fill yourself with light so you can shine that light on others, too.