Self-Compassion is a Life Skill: 6 Self-loving Ways to Make Life More Manageable
The start of the second decade of the new millennium has pushed many to new places — physically and emotionally. As a result, we are all developing coping mechanisms and learning new life skills. One of the most valuable tools you can acquire is self-compassion.
Why? Self-compassion can carry you through tough times. It is often the difference between bouncing back and staying down. It can even make fun times more enjoyable. It’s important to note that self-compassion is not about judgment. You may feel good or bad about something that happens on a day-to-day basis. On the contrary, self-compassion is not based on good days or bad days. Think of someone for whom you have compassion. That person could annoy or frustrate you in a temporary sense but it doesn’t stop you from feeling overall compassion. The same dynamic holds for self-compassion.
Benefits of Self-Compassion
There is an important prerequisite to having compassion for anyone. You have to first recognize that someone is suffering. Therefore, self-compassion begins with a willingness to identify your own struggle. Once you can do that without self-judging, you can offer the same kindness and understanding to yourself that you would to anyone who needs it.
Dr. Kristin Neff, a leading researcher on self-compassion, has authored a list of its benefits. They include:
- Personal initiative
- Curiosity and exploration
- Positive affect
But knowing what self-compassion is and how it can help you is not the same as acquiring it. That requires a sincere commitment to making your life more manageable.
6 Self-Loving Ways to Make Life More Manageable
In times like this, it can be very easy to dwell on the negatives. The antidote is to retrain your focus onto gratitude. Cultivate an appreciation for events — of any size — that make you happy to be you. It is a path to some much-needed balance.
So many of our worries and thus, our self-criticisms, are based on factors beyond our control. A more realistic and self-compassionate perspective is to a) identify what you can control and b) work with that. Everything else can be dealt with as it happens.
Spending quality time with quality people is good for your soul. It’s also where and how you learn to recognize and appreciate your good points. Your loved ones will let you know how awesome you are and this will inspire even more self-compassion.
It’s tough to practice self-love when your mind is flitting back and forth between the past and future. The past is teeming with regret. The future breeds anxiety. Mindfulness brings us back to the present — where real life and self-compassion live.
Creativity can take place in any setting. From how you dress to the words you use to decisions related to decorating your home… and beyond. Express yourself as often as possible. Let your curiosity and child-like send of wonder flow.
Life becomes much more manageable when you maintain an open mind. Change is inevitable and you will find yourself far happier when you remain open to new possibilities. Especially in times like these — filled with division and schisms — it is super important to appreciate context and nuance.
Like Any Skill, Self-Compassion Can Be Taught
Doing the work to evolve and improve our lives is not a solo act. We need input from others.
An ideal way to make this happen is through therapy. Working with an experienced health professional puts you in a position to identify the obstacles that are slowing your move to self-compassion. Your regular counseling sessions will allow you to develop this powerful and essential life skill. From there, you’ll work as a team to sustain this commitment and enjoy its many benefits.
One of our therapists can help you with strategies to help you manage negative thoughts and emotions during this strange time. Contact us to find out how to get started soon. You can also call to schedule an online appointment at 832-559-2622 or book an appointment online.
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