We’re all familiar with our inner critic that can be harshly judgmental. Practicing self-compassion gives "the boot" to this critic, asks us to be kind to ourselves, and introduces us to our inner love champion. It also helps us see things with a fresh lens, giving us more possibilities to resolve situations, and allows us to meet our own needs directly, so we’re not so dependent on our partner or friends to meet our emotional needs all the time. Here are 3 ways to practice self-compassion in your daily life, plus a guided meditation from Meditation Studio.
1. Treat yourself as you would a friend.
Many of us seem to be better at being compassionate to others than to ourselves. But we can extend the feeling of loving connectedness that we cultivate with others to ourselves as well. Next time you get frustrated and feel tempted to berate yourself, Kristin Neff, self-compassion expert and author, suggests treating yourself with kindness, as you would a best friend when he or she is suffering. Consider writing yourself a letter or even just a paragraph from the perspective of a really good friend.
2. Hold painful emotions with love.
When a difficult situation arises and you’re feeling depressed, fearful, sad, or whatever painful emotion you might be feeling, Neff suggests that you hold those painful emotions with love and watch how you’re calmed and soothed by this action. Instead of just feeling the suffering, you’re also feeling the loving, connected presence that’s holding the suffering. This doesn’t make the negative experience go away, but it can help you tolerate it with kindness and patience.
3. Put your hand on your heart.
Simply put your hand on your heart and let this be a reminder to turn some love inward. Research is pretty clear on the fact that the more self-compassionate you are, the more you’re able to sustain being compassionate to others...and this is good for humanity.
A Guided Meditation for Self-Compassion
This "Knowing Self Love" meditation, by Meditation Studio app teacher Susan Piver, is a twist on a traditional lovingkindness practice. This meditation helps you get into the habit of wishing all parts of yourself well…even the most deeply wounded parts.