Having compassion for others can be easy. It is much more simple to focus on others and overlook their faults, flaws, and any limits to their abilities.
On the other hand, showing elements of self-compassion can be incredibly difficult and something we all need to work on.
This article will cover four necessary self-compassion elements so you can start cutting yourself some slack without cutting out your drive, passion, and zest for life!
1. Take the time to prepare
This might sound like the oldest trick in the book, but preparing ourselves for things is an absolutely essential element of self-compassion.
Whether you’re a parent, single person, couple or retired (or anywhere in between), being prepared for the coming day or big event in your life is a must for keeping the stress levels down.
This is doubly important if this event impacts others around you.
Prevent the extra stress of being unprepared from ruining your day by getting organized (even just mentally) a little earlier! If you can think through something beforehand, chances are when you get to that moment when you really need to be mentally present; you can be.
You won’t need to put too much thought into what you need to do, because you’ve already done it!
2. Take regular time for self-care
Self-care is definitely a trending concept about now, and there is a very good reason.
Many people neglect self-care on a consistent basis.
This leads to stress, burnout, and often other connected issues-not to mention the relationship issues that can arise from never spending time together if that’s also an issue!
You can find any number of self-care ideas on Pinterest and all over the internet, but. Basically, the activity (or relaxation) you choose to use as self-care needs to cover these:
- It needs to refresh your SOUL-you come back feeling like you have taken a big, mental, or emotional breath of fresh air.
- It needs to help you recharge-after you have implemented this for a while, you should feel energized or at least ready to get re-energized afterward or the next day; and
- It needs to be something you can access regularly. Once-a-year cruises are NOT consistent self-care.
3. Allowing time to process
This element of self-compassion is all about giving yourself permission to process.
If you have had a breakup, big change, or another big event in your life, processing this is extremely important. You will need to let yourself move through those emotions and NOT get annoyed at yourself for even having a few down days.
Allowing these emotions to move through you and being present with them means seeing them for what they are: emotions. They do not define you unless you let them. Sit back and feel the feelings so you can let them go.
However, you don’t need processing for just the big things in life.
That small comment from another parent about your child, that comment from someone at work, the silly look someone gave you, the way you dealt with your partner that day… these all need processing too.
We’ve all woken up at some time early in the morning and thought about some of these little things, but they need to be processed too, or we wouldn’t be waking up!
Allow time and KNOW that it’s OK.
4. Allow yourself to make mistakes
This is close to my heart because I work with kids, and parents-allowing ourselves to make mistakes is extremely important.
Do we want to go out and make mistakes without caring? No!
But learning that mistakes are part of life, part of growth, is essential to building our resilience. This means that we learn to ‘bounce back’ in adversity and learn that in order to succeed, we need to keep trying when we fail!
So while we teach this to our kids and talk about it-how do you go with this yourself?
Do you actually allow yourself to make mistakes without beating yourself up unnecessarily?
Because that is the thing about self-compassion-its about the mental attitude you have towards yourself, more than anything else.
So next time you make a mistake, feel like you stuffed up, feel like you just embarrassed yourself?
Don’t go over it, and over it, and over it in your head.
Cut yourself some mental slack, try to shrug it off (after you have processed, of course), and don’t hit that mental ‘song repeat’ anymore!
We all need to take time to think about which elements of self-compassion we can work on-because no one is really ‘there’ at the pinnacle of perfection in this area.
We all need a refresher course now and then.
Let’s be more aware and give ourselves that beautiful, life-giving gift of self-compassion and self-love.
You deserve it.