Self-compassion is integral to a good self-care routine. Many people are aware of the importance of showing compassion to others; however, it is often overlooked when it comes to the self.
Elements of compassion include forgiveness, kindness, understanding, and mindfulness.
Self-compassion involves understanding that you are just a human and make mistakes; it means forgiving yourself when you missed a deadline or goal. Compassion encompasses kindness of all sorts and, at its core, is love. Understanding your boundaries and limits is also demonstrating compassion, as it shows self-respect.
Socrates’ famous quote ‘to know thyself is wisdom‘ encompasses the virtue of understanding that is a cornerstone of compassion. Realizing that you are a human and make mistakes is only the first stepping stone to true self-understanding. Knowing yourself includes knowing your likes, dislikes, and outlook on the world. Being mindful of your thoughts and feelings can help to arrive at true understanding.
Mindfulness is an important part of compassion because it allows the current situation to be observed without judgement. Identifying and categorizing what is happening is not conducive to compassionate understanding because it removes you from the experience at hand. A large part of showing compassion involves acknowledging pain or negativity and then dealing with it in a kind way. Isolating the experience of trying to define it inhibits emotional engagement, which is an important component of kindness and love.
Developing a habit of showing compassion to yourself can help you cope with issues in a more balanced way and likely spread to others. The way you treat yourself both reflects and creates your self-image, which in turn has an impact on your behavior towards others. There are several ways to begin actively practicing compassion, and acceptance is an underlying theme among them.
There are generally thought to be three steps to cultivating self-compassion. Each of which can be tailored to fit seamlessly into your schedule.
The first principle of compassion is kindness. This kindness is not just about doing good deeds or giving compliments; rather, it is a deep and unconditional resolve to be considerate and avoid passing judgement. While it might seem effortless to apply this to a friend who is going through a rough time, applying this level of kindness to yourself is often easier said than done. Kindness is fundamental to being compassionate, and thinking about the impact that your thoughts and words have on your emotional state is a good way to start applying this step to your daily life.
The second step that can help build self-compassion involves decreasing feelings of isolation. Realizing that you are a human being, just like everyone else, can be both discouraging and comforting. We all make mistakes, and you are no exception. Next time you notice yourself judging something you did or did not do, remember that it was a mistake, and everyone makes them. You did the best that you could given the situation, and that is enough. Isolating yourself from humanity’s follies only serves to make the situation worse and is not a demonstration of compassion.
The final practical step to cultivating self-compassion involves forgiveness. This step specifically asks you to suspend all judgement and simply observe what is happening at the moment. Judging yourself doesn’t take into account the value of the experience or what you learned from it. Either, it prevents you from accepting that what happened is in the past, not the present or future.
Acceptance of the emotions you feel and embracing them as a part of your experience allows you to forgive yourself for any mistakes and move on.
The Value Of Compassion
Compassion has a way of dissembling emotional obstacles and limitations you may have, assisting you in creating a life of joy and peace.
Being aware of your emotions and the impact that your thoughts and words have on others as well as yourself can open up a world of opportunity, as limitations are often beliefs that you have about yourself. Letting go of the past and forgiving yourself for previous actions demonstrate that you are living in the present and are no longer the person that you used to be.
Living compassionately with yourself can teach you valuable lessons about how to interact with the world in a kind, loving, and gentle way. Applying compassion to conflicts or fights can be a great way to diffuse tense situations as well as provide emotional support to everyone involved.
Living your life mindfully and showing kindness to all you encounter, including yourself, is a powerful way to spread love and build a more welcoming world.