“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.