How To Cultivate More Self-Compassion
While forgiveness of the self is a critical part of our growth and ability to live happily, an equally important part of the package is having compassion for ourselves as well. After all, the more we show ourselves some compassion, especially during times when we feel that we’ve fallen short on some things, it’ll be much easier to live out our missions as flawed human beings in love, peace, and harmony. Here’s how you can cultivate more self-compassion and be less judgmental of yourself and others.
Learn to love yourself unconditionally
Unconditional love is just as it sounds: love without conditions. It’s loving without any obligation, without having to meet certain set “standards” or expectations. Think about the way we love other people; even when that person says or does something that we consider aggravating, disappointing, or even hurtful.
It’s hard for us to eliminate the love we have for them. In fact, we’re more reluctant to distance ourselves from or cut off the people we love, no matter what they may have done. We continue to wish them the best and want the best for them. Despite their flaws and hang-ups, we still want them to be by our side. We’d do anything for them and want them to be happy. The same should apply to you too. Offer up that same love to yourself. Every time you feel pressure to uphold a certain standard either self-imposed or pressed by others, remember that you are human and you have the right to love and be loved, whether or not those standards are met.
Don’t berate yourself for your mistakes
Imagine if someone you loved constantly blasted you or scolded you for your past shortcomings. It never feels very good, does it? To be constantly reminded of how we messed up, and never granted the opportunity to make amends, even if it was a minor issue. It feels very unpleasant being around people who never seem to let things go no matter how much you’ve admitted whatever wrongdoing on your part, and make an effort to learn and evolve from your past mistakes.
Don’t be that person towards yourself. Stand your ground against that nagging voice in your head that wants to fault you for being a human with flaws. we are all experiencing, learning and growing every day. Of course hold yourself accountable for your actions, at the same time allow yourself the patience and compassion you need in order to move on from any past situations that you’re not proud of.
Do this by imagining yourself as a small child who’s afraid and doesn’t know any better. Speak to that child in a calm and nurturing tone. Tell your child self how you can be better next time in an understanding and encouraging way.
Drop the drama
When we set high expectations for what we think we should have, do, or be, it’s super easy to beat ourselves up and put ourselves down when those standards aren’t met. Sometimes we get our hopes up about adopting a new habit or accomplishing a certain thing and then fall short of the goal, causing a blow to our ego and leaving a bad taste in our mouths.
The first thing we tend to do is be mean to ourselves. That voice in our head barrages us with shaming and scolding. We suddenly become like that one really rude and belligerent supervisor we’d fantasize about cursing out, flipping off and storming away from, content with never having to see their face ever again. Oh, how much you wished that boss could just sometimes find the compassion to say something like “Hey, you know what? It’s alright. After all, it’s not all your fault. I get it; I’m human too. Sometimes we don’t always get it right. Don’t worry too much about it; this is nothing we can’t fix or turn around.”
Nope. Instead, it was more like “My God, can’t you do anything right?!? You call this exceptional? It’s garbage! Please, try to cough up something at least half way decent next time!”
Don’t be that a-hole boss.
We would never show our friends or family, or even a neighbor or a co-worker the same callousness and ridicule. That being said, how is it justifiable to treat yourself in this manner? Furthermore, what exactly does it accomplish besides making you want to curl up in a ball and chug a half gallon of ice cream? Letting yourself be overly dramatic about your bad habits or imperfections only creates an unhealthy cycle of poor self-esteem, heightened anxiety, wallowing in self-pity, and ironically, repeating those same mistakes we judge ourselves so harshly for! Instead of punishing yourself, practice being gentle and congratulate yourself for even making the decision to do and be better. Dust yourself off and try again tomorrow, no big deal!
Practice these tips every day
While these tips may come across as “easier said than done” please realize that it doesn’t have to be as hard as you think. It can be challenging to change our habits and our way of thinking. However, with practice, discipline, dedication and lots of compassion for yourself, it’ll eventually feel like second nature!
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