Self-compassion is a core skill for maintaining good mental health. So, what is self-compassion?
Think for a moment about what makes a really great friend. Answers often include things like kindness, support, encouragement, honesty, acceptance, and someone who is there for you unconditionally.
Self-compassion is all of the above. It involves behaving and speaking to yourself as you would to your best friend. A foundation of great friendship is trusting that the other person has your own best interests at heart. A best friend would not tell you to do the easy thing that damages you in the long term. She looks out for you. She has your back, even when you mess up. She doesn’t lie to you and say you did great when you didn’t. She holds your hand as you face the consequences and encourages you to try again for the things that mean most to you.
In difficult times, self-compassion means switching harsh self-criticism for supportive encouragement and unconditional acceptance. This includes recognition of a common sense of humanity. Acknowledging that everyone is flawed, experiences hardship and makes mistakes.
In times of crisis when you feel overwhelmed, self-compassion also includes actively comforting and soothing yourself through the pain.
This might sound simple, but for most people, swapping self-criticism for self-compassion means turning around the habit of a lifetime. It is certainly not easy. There are some great self-help books available on developing self-compassion.
What are your thoughts on self-compassion and the idea of being your own best friend? When do you find it most difficult to be self-compassionate?
In my next post I will share the science behind why self-compassion is such an essential skill for good wellbeing. So follow to make sure you see it.