How to Develop Self-Compassion

This is a moment of suffering. Suffering is part of life. May I be kind to myself in this moment. May I give myself the compassion I need.” – Kristin Neff

We hear a lot today about self-compassion. But how do we show compassion to ourselves? What does this look like in our everyday lives?

1. First, acknowledge to yourself that you’re having a hard time. This is the starting place of self-compassion. You don’t have to pretend, and to push your feelings down. This is the time to be on your own side, and to listen to your heart, with empathy and understanding. ‘It feel what you feel’ … and that’s absolutely fine!

2. Don’t beat yourself up for struggling. It’s Ok to struggle and to find it hard to cope. What you’re feeling is normal. You are human – that is all. Understand that you have limits, and sometimes it’s all too much.

3. Let go of any tendencies towards perfectionism. You simply can’t be perfect; don’t expect that of yourself.  Allow yourself to fail, and to not have all the answers. Change and growth will be slow. It’s a process and a journey … And that journey is a zigzag; it isn’t a straight line.  

4. Ask for support from those who truly care. We need other people – but make sure that they’re safe people. Not everyone is caring; people have their own agenda. So reach out for support – but be wise, and use discernment.  

5. Make sure you enforce healthy boundaries with others. Decide what you can’t cope with, and what you won’t allow. This is a mark of self-respect and appropriate self-love. Then, you need to have the courage to enforce these boundaries. This be crucial for survival, and for ‘not falling apart’.  

6. Drop some commitments, and give yourself more space. There are times when we are weary and we don’t have the resources to say “yes” to other people: we simply must pull back. And you owe it to yourself to put your own needs first.

7. Take time to relax, and to do things you enjoy. This will help renew your strength, and will build you up again. Also, you deserve to ‘take it easy’, and to make time for yourself. Perhaps it’s been too long since you gave yourself a break, and allowed yourself some fun, and some needed pampering.

So, do this for yourself. It is absolutely crucial.


12 thoughts on “How to Develop Self-Compassion

  1. Very good points here for just looking after oneself. So very necessary. I hope those who read it would be lead to implement any points they have not been intentional with. It is like extending grace to yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. #4.
    When journaling your prompts—“who in your life feels like a safe person?”
    This made me light right up! ✨💚✨
    Wrote on for a couple of pages considering what it is that makes these people feel safe to me and how wonderful it feels physiologically inside to have that connection outside. Soothing. Yes—so well said—“extending grace to yourself”

    This is so important for us all—especially those of us who have had difficulty reaching out to others—trusting. It is a practice. Better to do a little bit every day.


    • Great to hear from you NZain! It can be hard to feel safe with anyone when we’ve been treated badly by those close to us, people we had trusted and had been vulnerable with.

      I’m impressed that you wrote so much on what made the people you’d identified, safe for you. I think it really helps to break it down, and to tease out all the different components. It is helpful to know what we’re looking for, and what we personally need in order to feel safe.

      As you say … trusting someone is going to take TIME, and it is better to be content with experimenting a little bit, every day. That sounds like good self care to me 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I read this post twice. It came at a time when I have been going through a slight depression. I am so over this pandemic and this emotional roller coaster. Taking day by day and hope by thisvtime next year this will all be over.

    Liked by 1 person

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