How to Practice Self-Compassion

Most of us from a young age are taught how to be kind, considerate and compassionate toward others. But rarely are we told to show the same consideration to ourselves. This becomes even more true for individuals brought up in abusive or unloving homes.

Silhouetted woman at sunset on the beach reaches her arms back and looks up at the orange and pink sky. What is Self-Compassion?

Self-compassion is taken from Buddhist psychology and refers to how we can relate to the self with kindness. Self-compassion or self-love is NOT to be confused with arrogance or selfishness. In actuality, arrogance and selfishness stem from the absence of self-love. But what does it really mean to be kind with ourselves? It means that on a day-to-day basis we are mindful of being courteous, supportive and compassionate with ourselves. Too many individuals treat themselves with harsh judgement instead of compassion. Why is this important? Because self-compassion helps us recognize our unconditional worth and value. It allows us to recognize though we my sometimes make bad decisions, we’re not bad people. Research, over the past decade, has shown the parallel between self care and psychological wellbeing. Those who recognize self-compassion also tend to have better connections with others, are reportedly happier with their own lives, and have a higher satisfaction with life overall. Self-compassion also correlates with less shame, anxiety and depression. Now that you know the what and why of self-compassion, let’s look at the how.

How to Practice Self-Compassion

Treat Yourself as You Would a Small ChildConnected Family Fun, LA; Aliso Beach, Laguna accompanies a young woman as she sits at multi-colored ice cream bar. You would never harshly judge or belittle a small child the way you do yourself. You would only want to help and love that child. When you begin to treat yourself as you would a small child, you begin to show yourself the same love, gentleness and kindness. Practice Mindfulness Every minute your mind is handling millions of bits of information, though you consciously are only aware of a few of them. This is to say we all have scripts or programs running in our minds 24/7. These scripts and programs are running our lives, insisting we have certain behaviors and make certain decisions. Some of these scripts are the ones that tell us how “bad” or “unlovable” we are. They’ve been running since we were kids. The way to quiet these scripts is to become more mindful of your own mind. When you begin to have a feeling or reaction to something, stop and ask yourself WHO is feeling that? Is it the compassionate self or the program running? If it’s the program, thank the program for what it has done and release it. Caucasian woman lays with her hand under her face laying on to of water with eyes closed practicing self-compassion.Good Will vs Good Feelings Self-compassion is a conscious act of kindness we show ourselves; it’s not a way to alleviate emotional pain. Life happens, and we can’t always avoid negative or sad feelings. Never mistake self-compassion as a tool to ignore your deep and rich emotional life.   These are just a few ways you can begin to cultivate self-compassion. If you’d like to explore more options or talk to someone about your feelings of self-rejection and judgement, please get in touch with me. I’d be happy to discuss how cognitive therapy may help.

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Helping families feel connected is at the core of my Family Therapy practice. Should you feel like your family might benefit from family counseling to increase your family connections and decrease family conflicts with a challenging and/or gifted child in the home, you have come to the right place! I also offer individual therapy to gifted students' parents, online or in my office in Arcadia. Click here, to contact me via email, or feel free to give me a call at (626) 755-4059 for a FREE 20-minute, Initial Phone Consultation. For family therapy, I meet alone with parents in my Arcadia office for the first session. I want there to be a good fit between us, before you introduce me to your children. In-Home Family Therapy (Home-Based Family Counseling) is an option to families living in Pasadena, Glendale and Arcadia, California, as well as the surrounding areas of the San Gabriel Valley.Engaged family therapist leaning in on kitchen counter, giving positive regard for progress. I have completed training from SENG (Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted) and am a certified SENG Parent Support Group Facilitator. You will find my professional listing with SENG here. Please feel free to find out more about me on my Family Trauma Therapy page. You can also explore my CredentialsServices, and Rates.  LGBTQIA+ affirming therapy is a core value of my practice. My style shines through in my blog, Connected Family Fun, LA., where I share ways to have fun with the family while making deeper connections. Let's connect!