Have you ever heard the saying, “you are going to be harder on yourself than anyone else will”? That statement is true for most people, and it can actually be the one thing that’s holding you back from being truly happy. Studies show that those who exhibit self-compassion are overall happier, more optimistic, live in gratitude, and experience a deeper sense of empathy. As a result, it is easier to attract the life and circumstances we desire.
Self-compassion is the root of self-love and is derived from 3 main elements according to Dr. Kristin Neff ⬇️
- Self Kindness
Many humans were raised to be kind to others with little emphasis on being kind to ourselves. When we fail at something or make a mistake we tend to beat ourselves up with negative self-talk, using harsh language that we would unlikely ever direct towards someone else for their shortcomings.
When you practice self-kindness you are nurturing your feelings from within and allowing your needs to be met, rather than speaking to yourself in a harsh manner.
A great way to practice being kind to yourself when you are down is to think about what you would say to a loved one who is going through a difficult time. Then, take your own advice and turn it inward.
- Understanding Common Humanity
Oftentimes when we are suffering we tend to feel isolated and as though we are the only ones. Understanding common humanity means that we are all part of the “shared human experience” and that we all suffer and feel inadequate at certain times in our lives. Recognizing that we are not alone and that we are all perfectly imperfect humans who make mistakes and have insecurities and vulnerabilities is an important part of self-compassion.
To be self-compassionate is to be self-aware and mindful of what’s going on beneath the surface. It is important to observe your thoughts and feelings from a place of neutrality and openness without judgment. Simply allowing whatever you are thinking or feeling to be as it is, without getting attached or swept away by negative thought loops. By practicing mindfulness, you are better able to pause in the moment, acknowledge what you are thinking and feeling, and embrace self-compassion.
Self-compassion and self-criticism
Dr. Kristin Neff states, “The number one reason people give for why they aren’t more self-compassionate is the fear that they will be too easy on themselves”.
Although many believe that in order to be productive and successful we must be harsh self-critics, research has found the opposite to be true. Self-criticism has been found to undermine potential causing a lack of self-confidence and fear of failure.
Self-compassion, on the other hand, helps to alleviate suffering. There is a motivational power that self-compassionate people share to set higher standards for themselves and engage in healthier behaviors by nurturing themselves through setbacks and disappointments rather than harshly criticizing themselves.
Signs you might be too self-critical
The phenomenon of being overly self-critical may not be something you are aware of. However, not being aware of this can not only hinder your personal growth journey, but also affect your health, professional advancement, relationships, and ability to live your best life.
Here are some signs that you might be overly critical ⬇️
- You take immediate responsibility for everything that goes wrong in the home, in your relationships, and/or at work.
- You have a tendency to “punish” yourself. Whether that’s depriving yourself of food due to weight gain, working late because you fell behind on tasks, and/or refraining from personal joys because you feel guilty about not spending more time at home or at work.
- You tend to second-guess yourself often.
- You are rarely satisfied because you have set a very high bar for yourself and others in your life.
If you can identify with any of these, this does not mean that you are “wrong” or “bad”. This simply means there may be room for more self-compassion in your life.
Why you should implement self-compassion into your personal growth journey
When you start to incorporate self-compassion into your personal growth journey you’ll start to experience a deeper sense of purpose, genuine happiness, authentic confidence, and more fulfillment overall. People who are compassionate with themselves are much more aware of how their thoughts, decisions, and actions affect their lives on an internal level.
The benefits of practicing self-compassion ⬇️
Self-compassionate people have deeper connections and better relationships because they are aware of how they feel and how they make others feel. This allows you to be more mindful of the kind of people and dynamics you allow into your space so that when you do, you can be fully invested. You are also more self-aware so when you need to communicate your needs, you’re able to in a healthy, productive way.
It has also been proven that those who practice self-compassion have a greater chance of achieving their goals because they nurture themselves along the way. Those who are self-critical tend to burn out or give up because the journey doesn’t feel good. Yet, those who are self-compassionate go the distance because they see every failure or “wrong decision” as an opportunity for growth.
Self-compassion matters a great deal in the pursuit of success, happiness, and fulfillment and is one of the most powerful ways to help support and nurture yourself.
If you’re looking for more personal guidance on how to practice self-compassion, click here to schedule a 60-minute FREE life coaching discovery call!
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