Can you make self-compassion your superpower? Yes, you can, and you should! In the article “The astonishing results of living with true compassion,” I wrote that compassion consists of two aspects:
- Recognizing and being touched by the suffering of a person.
- Wanting to mitigate the suffering.
Compassion is not feelings of pity for a person that is suffering. A compassionate person will reach out and help that person. And the willingness to alleviate suffering is at the core of compassion. In the article “9 Easy ways to become more compassionate,” you can discover ways to enhance your compassion.
If we translate the definition to self-compassion, you must be aware of and affected by your suffering. And you must be willing to act to ease it. It is often much easier to be mindful of the suffering of others. You may become so engrossed in the technology-driven world that you completely lose touch with your own body, feelings, and needs. Or you may treat yourself like a machine without any kindness. But machines need to be serviced to stay functional. Humans need care as well. That is why self-compassion is so crucial.
So, how can you make self-compassion your superpower?
Be self-aware and mindful
Mindfulness is currently a buzzword. And it is not surprising if you think about the tempo in which we live our lives. There is almost no time to spend with yourself as we are bombarded continuously with external stimuli. But why are self-awareness and mindfulness crucial?
Self-awareness refers to consciousness of your body, feelings, thoughts, and actions. It is primarily a sensory experience. Your senses communicate what is happening in your body. Mindfulness involves accepting your feelings, ideas, and behaviors in a non-judgmental way. It is focusing on what you experience in the present and accepting yourself unconditionally. It enables you to be compassionate with yourself.
Self-compassion requires awareness and unconditional acceptance of what you experience at the moment. Bodily reactions and feelings are not right or wrong. They are there to warn you about uncomfortable things happening in your life. Remember that all humans struggle and have failures in life. Life can be challenging. The secret is to accept that you are human. And therefore, you will face difficult situations and disappointments. Condemning yourself for your setbacks and mistakes serves no one. You can only deal effectively with challenges and misfortunes when you accept your thoughts and feelings. So, allow yourself these reactions and emotions. Allow yourself to make mistakes. It is part of life.
We tend to live either in the past or the future. Our mistakes in the past and worries about the future consume us. Therefore, the present slips away between our fingers. We cannot practice the art of mindfulness and therefore miss the tiny pleasures in our daily lives. Mindfulness enables you to stay in the moment. It is a skill that you can learn.
Start with a short, easy three-minute exercise.
Set the alarm if necessary. Make yourself comfortable, close your eyes, and scan through your body. Just take note of your body and how you breathe. Do not do anything about your experience. Allow any thoughts that enter your head. Then just let them drift past, much like a leaf floating past in a stream. Notice them coming and going. Do it at least once a day until it becomes a habit.
Start to make self-compassion your superpower by taking tiny steps.
Be kind to yourself
You judge your thoughts, actions, and feelings when you devaluate and criticize yourself. It takes its toll on your self-worth and leads to generally lower performance. Be especially careful to judge yourself for mistakes and failures. Remember that you are human, and humans make mistakes. Mistakes are nothing more than learning opportunities.
So, what is self-kindness?
It is your attitude towards yourself. Instead of criticizing yourself during challenges and suffering, you show empathy and understanding. We always make the best decision with the information at our disposal. Instead of chastising yourself for mistakes, ask what you can learn from the situation. Remember that you deserve to be valued, understood, and loved. Your value does not depend on your successes or failures. Be kind to yourself by recognizing your valuable accomplishments. You have the right to be proud of yourself.
These small steps can be an excellent place to start:
- Speak kindly and positively to yourself. Silence the critic inside.
- Remind yourself that you are strong.
- Accept your failures and learn from them.
- Celebrate even the most minor achievements.
- Be your own greatest friend.
If you struggle, stick a photograph of yourself against the mirror and pretend that you are talking to your best friend. Bear in mind how you would treat another person in a similar situation.
Take care of yourself
There are many ways to take of yourself. But sometimes, taking care of yourself may feel like an enormous task. Therefore, it is beneficial to start with tiny steps:
- Exercise for 5 minutes every day. Once you have established the habit, you can increase the time.
- Eat one nourishing meal per day. Healthy food can also be nourishing!
- Sleep 7 – 8 hours every night. Plan a calm bedtime routine.
- Have a coffee with a friend and keep it light and positive.
- Set boundaries to protect yourself and your time.
- Practice gratitude. It sets you up for a positive mindset.
The items on the list are examples. You may need very different ideas on your list. Write down your thoughts and put them where you can see them as a reminder.
Spoil yourself with activities that make you feel good
Adults seldom spoil themselves. We spoil our children, our friends, and our pets. Most adults are too busy to even think of spending time for themselves. When we want to treat ourselves, we think about bubble baths, flowers, candles, manicures, and pedicures. While these are all valid, there are other options as well.
A powerful way to spoil yourself is to do something that you love. Often, we need to remember what we are enthusiastic about. So, take time to reflect and identify something you enjoyed as a child. Although you may not be passionate about it any longer, it may give you an idea of possible interests. Perhaps you loved reading, but now you want to write. Did you draw as a child, decorate your room, play a musical instrument, or love to play tennis? Perhaps you loved the outdoors, rode on your bicycle, or swam every day. Can you find a new way to revive an old interest?
If you need help, try to find a new interest.
There are many hobbies that you can pursue. In the article “Spoil yourself with a new hobby,” you can read more about hobbies and how to find one that suits you. Countless indoor and outdoor activities will reduce stress and improve your mental health. The critical idea is that you must do the things that make you feel better.
Make self-compassion your superpower by acting today. Cultivate self-awareness and then do something. Self-awareness only transforms into self-compassion when you do something to ease your own suffering. Spend the time to spoil yourself and become a healthy, happy person. And do it now. You can change your life today!
Do you lack self-compassion? Do you know someone who needs to learn self-compassion? Share this article and help each other to make self-compassion your superpower.