The Road to Self-Compassion

Why do We Need Self-Compassion?

I think it surprises people when they first start paying attention to the Critical Mind – how pervasive that negative voice in their head really is. Unfortunately, being angry with ourselves for falling short damages our sense of self: it can lead to depression, anxiety, and relentless stress.

We do have a tool to help us change this: our Awareness.  When we slow down, get still, stay curious, and notice mindfully (without judgment), we interrupt that cycle of the Critical Mind eroding our sense of self.

And this puts us in a place where we can open ourselves up to Self-Compassion.

Self-Compassion takes the Awareness to a deeper level that promotes resilience: it enables us to take charge of our own healing.

When I mention Self-Compassion many people balk – initially it can be hard to swallow:

  • If I am too soft on myself I won’t get anything done
  • That sounds too touchy-feely/woo woo for me
  • I understand the value, I just can’t see myself doing that

But what exactly do I mean when I say Self-Compassion?

It is a way to take care of ourselves with love and kindness.  When we practice Self-Compassion, we are actively “seeing” ourselves and demonstrating that our hurt or struggle matters.  We give ourselves the attention and care we needed, but often did not receive growing up.

I love what Kristin Neff, PhD says:

“Instead of mercilessly judging and criticizing yourself for various inadequacies or shortcomings, self-compassion means you are kind and understanding when confronted with personal failings – after all, who ever said you were supposed to be perfect?”

In this clip, she shares what she considers to be a few important nuggets of Self-Compassion:

 

And Christopher Germer, PhD asserts that mindful self compassion is the foundation of emotional healing.

Practicing self-compassion promotes joy, peace, and vitality.  In my counseling practice, I love helping people add more self-compassion in their lives.  Please give me a call at 503.224.6559, if this speaks to you.