According to Kristin Neff, a leading researcher on self-compassion, “with self-compassion, we give ourselves the same kindness and care we’d give to a good friend.” Neff’s research demonstrates that self-compassion leads to improved resilience, more accurate self-concepts, along with less anger and narcissism. Thus, it is more beneficial to our mental health then self-esteem.
Self-compassion and Self-esteem
While self-esteem is often depending on self-evaluation and our accomplishments and therefore promotes our inner critic, self-compassion involves a persistent attitude of self-acceptance and self-kindness. We feel self-kindness for ourselves not because of particular accomplishments or traits, but because we deserve understanding and compassion as a whole.
The Benefits of Fostering Self-Compassion
Learning how to be self-compassionate leads to many benefits. Self-compassion means treating yourself with self-acceptance, understanding, and self-love. Also, it means understanding and accepting your deepest feelings, thoughts, and needs. Self-acceptance helps you understand the power of your inner voice, see things from a different perspective, and attract positive outcomes into your life.
Self-compassion can improve your life in the following ways:
· It boosts happiness and optimism. Also, self-compassion can reduce stress and anxiety levels triggered by your inner critic which will help improve your mental, emotional and physical health.
· Self-compassion reduces anxiety. It can help us avoid critical inner voice and its self-destructing ruminations.
· It promotes a sense of common humanity and helps us understand that, as humans, we are vulnerable and imperfect. By nurturing self-compassion, we can avoid being unforgiving and judging ourselves.
· Self-kindness inspires our personal growth and leads to better self-knowledge and self-appreciation. It helps reduce distracting voices in our conscious mind and allows the voice of our inner wisdom to lead us.
· Self-compassion will help you become more aware of your emotions. You will better understand what you feel, why do you feel a certain way, and how you can control your feelings. Additionally, you will become more sensitive to other people’s emotional reactions, which will improve your relationships, help you understand other people’s motives, and predict their reactions.
How to Practice Self-compassion?
· Use Positive Affirmations
Affirmations are positive statements about ourselves based on a positive self-perception and self-acceptance. To practice self-kindness, affirm yourself constantly. Make the affirmation personal and focus only on positive experiences and outcomes. Use the present tense and be precise and specific.
· Practice Mindfulness Meditation
Mindfulness meditation is a useful strategy to tune out your inner critic and foster self-kindness. Meditation can help calm your mind and body while becoming aware of your thoughts and emotions without self-judgment.
We all face challenges and pressures, both external and internal. And in the age of social media, self-judgment and self-critic are more present than ever. The constant imperative to live up to the perfect lives of others presented through social media makes us feel inadequate, insecure, and incapable.
However, we can learn to quiet the inner critic that holds us back and start showing compassion for ourselves. Once we free our subconscious mind from negative thoughts, we will remove the self-imposed obstacles to achieving happiness and well-being. And the self-acceptance is the best way to reach that goal.