When the voice that’s inside your head starts to become your most prominent critic and worst advocate, it may be time for you to learn a little self-compassion. Learning to care about yourself and be compassionate toward your feelings and needs is a sign that you value yourself and want to nurture your happiness in life.
Consider what it would be like to be stranded on a deserted island with one other person. Would it be important to you that you and that person cared for and supported one another along your trials and journey? Would it be worth the effort to learn how to get along with each other and create a positive relationship? Well, that inner voice is your partner on the island of your life, so it’s time you started making friends with one another!
Ways to Build Your Self-Compassion
- Be Kind to Your Inner Child
No matter your age, you can still feel hurt, disappointment, and shame. When you recognize these emotions in a child, you understand they need kindness and compassion. So why, when you see those same feelings in yourself, do you deny yourself the same consideration? Treat yourself as you would any small child in need of caring and support, especially when things are hard.
- Write Yourself a Permission Slip
The basis of self-compassion is allowing yourself to be flawed and imperfect, just like every other human on the planet. While you may not be perfect, no one expects you to be, so why do you expect it of yourself? Write yourself a mental permission slip, and the next time you make a mistake, cash it in without regret. Recognize that it’s ok to slip up now and then, as long as you continue to learn and grow from the experience.
Punishing yourself for your mistakes and flaws is a sure sign you lack self-compassion. When you punish your future for mistakes you made in the past, you are only setting yourself up for more disappointment and heartache. Start by forgiving and moving on from all your past transgressions. If it helps, write a letter to yourself expressing your forgiveness, to help you move on and let go.
- Be mindful.
Listen and pay attention to that inner voice, that harsh self-critic that is always offering his or her opinion. Become mindful of when that voice chimes in and the words it uses. Becoming aware of that inner critic is necessary if you want to truly silence it once and for all. The next time you hear it, fight back. Argue instead for why you are worthy or capable. Demand to know where that voice gets the right to be so cruel and heartless toward you.
- Embrace Challenges
Every obstacle and setback in your life is a chance to learn more and become better. Adopting a growth mindset, one that views failures and challenges as learning experiences rather than mistakes to regret, is key to developing a more compassionate attitude toward yourself. Find inspiration in your mistakes, which are helping you to grow stronger every day.
- Be Grateful
Instead of focusing on the negative, try embracing gratitude. Acknowledge your strengths. Pay attention to the many gifts and blessings of your life. Focus on what is going well, and you will start to feel more loving toward yourself for the bountiful life you have.
Learning to comfort yourself, nurture and care for your body and mind, and express your appreciation toward yourself are all beneficial for building your self-compassion, as well. Learning to love yourself will have an immense impact on your relationships with others but, more importantly, it will allow you to have a healthy, loving relationship with yourself.