Updated: Aug 11
By Andrea Seydel Live Life Happy Podcast/Blog/Bookclub
SELF-COMPASSION: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself
Why self-compassion matters and how you can develop it. When life is full of personal failure, competition, and despair, how can you still feel good about yourself? In a competitive world filled with stress and setbacks, it’s easy to lapse into negative self-talk.
In this Podcast/Bookclub/, you’ll discover why self-compassion is essential for authentic happiness. Then, you’ll learn to cultivate your own reservoir of self-compassion, as well as the many benefits that self-compassion offers.
Are curious about the pitfalls of the self-esteem movement? Do you Suffer from excessive self-criticism? or Do you want to know how self-compassion can improve your life?
Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself By Dr. Kristin Neff teaches positive self-talk techniques to accept setbacks as a natural part of the human experience. Kristin Neff, Ph.D., says that it’s time to “stop beating yourself up and leave insecurity behind.
More and more, psychologists are turning away from an emphasis on self-esteem and moving toward self-compassion.
This book offers expert advice on how to limit self-criticism and offset its negative effects, enabling you to achieve your highest potential and a more contented, fulfilled life.
Throughout your life, you may find any number of reasons for criticizing yourself. WHAT DO YOU FEEL INSECURE ABOUT? DISSATISFIED WITH? OR FRUSTRATED ABOUT THE WAY THINGS HAVE TURNED OUT OR NOT TURNED OUT? In a life that’s filled with setbacks and despair, it can be difficult to feel authentically good about yourself.
Through self-compassion, you can quiet your inner critic, recognize your authentic emotions, treat yourself with kindness, and increase compassion in all your relationships.
PROBLEM WITH SELF-ESTEEM: People want to feel uniquely special- and they can only feel this way when they’re able to convince themselves that they’re above average in beauty, success, or intelligence. “Specialness” becomes the prerequisite for self-esteem. While feeling special offers a strong temptation, it ultimately prevents self-awareness and personal growth. The flip side of artificial self-esteem is extreme self-loathing. When inevitable mistakes and failures offer the cruel reminder that you’re not as perfect as you hoped, you might respond with disproportionate self-criticism. When you hold yourself to impossibly high standards, you’ll inevitably experience disappointment.
If you can accept yourself exactly as you are and recognize that you possess inherent value that’s independent of your achievements, beauty, and talent, then you’ll be able to have an authentically healthy relationship with yourself. This is self-compassion in action.
WHAT IS SELF-COMPASSION?
Consider the moments when you most often experience compassion in your life. Most people understand compassion primarily in terms of their relationships. Maybe you helped a close friend with marriage challenges or helped a daughter ashamed about her performance. Because these individuals are loved ones, you probably respond to their suffering with kindness.
You listen attentively to their feelings, you don’t judge them, and you assure them they’re still good people even amid these challenges. This is how you show compassion for others. Self-compassion is harder to give than offering compassion to others. Harder to see areas of suffering in our own lives.
You can begin to identify the areas of suffering in your life by asking yourself certain types of questions, such as:
•How do you respond to problems? Do you focus solely on the challenge at hand, or do you step back to give yourself some comfort? (Damage control) •Do you have a tendency to catastrophize about your problems? Do you make bad situations seem worse? •Are you able to connect with other people when you’re struggling? Or does hardship make you feel even more isolated? Can you call a close friend who will commiserate about professional hardships, or do you let these feelings fester into personal blame?
WHAT ARE YOUR AREAS OF MOST INTERNAL SUFFERING? Take some time to reflect. After you identify the areas of life that cause the most internal suffering, you’re ready to apply the basics of self-compassion.
THE BASIC COMPONENTS OF SELF-COMPASSION
1. SELF-KINDNESS-Being Kind to Ourselves
Self-kindness is the cessation of negative self-talk. It means that you’ve made an intentional choice to stop judging yourself for your suffering. By stepping back from your judgmental impulses, you’ll have the power to understand your shortcomings and learn from them rather than condemning.
During your next difficult moment or if life is supposed to go a certain way and doesn't.: Tell yourself, “I’m sorry you feel upset,” or, “Embarrassment is difficult.” You might even hold yourself in a loving embrace so you can feel a physical sense of comfort. What can you do to give yourself some friendly comfort. When you show comfort to yourself, you’re acknowledging your pain, but you’re also playing the role of the caregiver.
2. COMMON HUMANITY- We're All in This Together
Your feelings of shame and inadequacy are extremely common, so you don’t have to assume that your poor performance is somehow unique to you. These hurdles make you normal, not uniquely terrible.
Everyone falls short, everyone makes mistakes, and everyone feels shame. When you experience a lay-off at work or your marriage disintegrates, you might assume these unwanted events are proof that your life is all wrong. We tend to want to do something about your apparently problematic feelings of sadness and shame. But these are consequences of normal events. It does mean that you should resist the urge to see these challenges as proof of your inadequacy. But rather make you normal. It makes sense that...
3. MINDFULNESS- Being Mindful of What Is
Mindfulness is a powerful tool that helps you observe your feelings and the events of your life with calm and compassion. Mindfulness is an important process because it can help you minimize your attempts at resistance. Avoiding shame, anxiety, and grief.
For instance, during a moment of difficulty, you might feel the urge to jump into action to avoid your true feelings. You might go on a spending spree to distract yourself from your health problems, throw yourself into a new project to forget about your miserable professional life, or spend a lot of time at the bar to numb the grief. However, resistance ends up causing more harm than help and fighting your emotions will only make them stronger.
Observe these feelings and recognize them, non-judgmentally, for what they are. mindfulness can be a space for practicing the habits of recognition and non-reactivity. Remember that self-awareness and non-reactivity are always available.
TAKE YOUR INTERNAL STRUGGLES THROUGH THESE COMPONENTS: EXERCISE: Find the Silver Lining. Think of one or two of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your life so far, problems that were so difficult you thought you’d never get through them at the time. In hindsight, can you see if anything good came out of the experience? Did you grow as a person, learn something important, find more meaning in your life? ,,, Next, think about a challenge you’re facing right now. Is there any way to see your problem in a different light? Is there anything positive that might come out of your present circumstances? Can you apply the three components of Self-compassion to the struggle you went through or are having now?
POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY & SELF-COMPASSION
Over the past decade, eminent psychologists such as Martin Seligman and Mihaly Csikzentmihalyi have become increasingly interested in the way that positive emotions like love, joy, curiosity, and hope can help to maximize health and well-being. Generally known as the “positive psychology” movement, its focus is on understanding the factors that lead to mental health rather than mental illness—on cultivating strengths rather than eliminating weaknesses. Self- compassion fosters positive emotions, strengths and self efficacy.
THE BENEFITS OF SELF-COMPASSION
Stronger EMOTIONAL RESILIENCE, OPT OUT OF THE SELF-ESTEEM GAME, MOTIVATION AND PERSONAL GROWTH, COMPASSION FOR OTHERS, RELATIONS WITH OTHERS, use self-compassion to transmute suffering into joy.. By changing the way we relate to our own imperfection and pain, we can actually change our experience of living.
THE BUTTERFLY EMERGES
Try as we may, we can’t control life so that it goes exactly as we want it to. The unexpected and undesired do happen, every day. Yet when we wrap our suffering in the cocoon of compassion, something new emerges. Something wonderful, exquisite, beautiful.
EXERCISE: Transforming Negativity- The next time you find yourself in the grip of negative emotions, try generating some positive emotions to go alongside them. It’s hard to feel (fill in the blank) right now. Feeling (blank) is part of the human experience. What can I do to make myself happier in this moment?
EXERCISE: Take a fifteen- to thirty-minute pleasure walk outside. The goal of the walk is to notice as many pleasant things as possible, so that you are generating an upbeat frame of mind. How many happy, beautiful, or inspiring things can you notice while you’re walking?
EXERCISE: Find the Silver Lining. Think of one or two of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your life so far, problems that were so difficult you thought you’d never get through them at the time. In hindsight, can you see if anything good came out of the experience? Did you grow as a person, learn something important, find more meaning in your life? ,,, Next, think about a challenge you’re facing right now. Is there any way to see your problem in a different light? Is there anything positive that might come out of your present circumstances?
EXERCISES: Gratitude Journal, Savouring,
EXERCISE: Appreciating Yourself- List ten things about yourself that you really like or appreciate. As you write down each quality, see if you can notice any uncomfortable feelingsembarrassment, fear of vanity, unfamiliarity. If discomfort comes up, remind yourself that you are not claiming you’re better than anyone else, or that you’re perfect. You’re simply noting the good qualities that you sometimes display.
FINAL TAKE AWAY
When you strive for high self-esteem, you might need to tell certain lies about yourself in order to feel superior; when these lies fall apart, you become extra critical of your failures.
Self-compassion, on the other hand, prevents this volatile fluctuation between artificial self-love and the depths of despair.. SELF-COMPASSION HAS THE POWER TO RADICALLY TRANSFORM OUR mental and emotional reality.
Instead of lying to yourself to feel good, you can feel the peace of accepting yourself just as you are. Instead of loathing yourself for failures, you’ll recognize that disappointments and imperfections are normal experiences that everyone shares.
But to truly feel good about yourself, you don’t need to artificially boost your self-esteem or try to achieve more; instead, you can develop better feelings about yourself by increasing your self-compassion. By treating yourself with kindness and accepting yourself exactly as you are, you can develop authentic inner peace and feel better about yourself.