Nov 18, 2021
The Power of Self Compassion
Discover why it's more effective to motivate yourself with compassion, rather than self-criticism.
What is self-compassion?
When you feel compassion for someone who’s hurting, it means that you recognize what they’re going through. It makes you feel for them, and simply put, it makes them human.
Compassion can be tricker to direct towards yourself. When we make mistakes, empathy can go out the window while our inner critic rears its ugly head. ‘I’m so bad at this… I’m a failure…”. Sound familiar?
Self compassion means reacting to your own challenges in the same way you would for a friend. It helps you accept your flaws and failures, responding with warmth and support. It’s saying ‘Hey, that didn’t work, and I feel embarrassed. But you know what? Everyone makes mistakes, and I’ll get it right next time’.
What are the benefits of self-compassion?
Approaching your goals (and failures) with self love can help you feel more motivated and more willing to try again when things don’t go as planned. In fact, having self compassion has been shown to:
- Makes you more resilient in the face of challenges
- Boosts happiness and outlook on life
- Improves your self-esteem
- Reduce the severity of mental health issues
- Increases motivation
How to be compassionate
Self-compassion researcher Dr. Kristin Neff has defined 3 key elements of self compassion:
Step 1: Mindfulness
Embrace mindfulness to notice and accept difficult emotions, without over-identifying with them. This could be reframing your thoughts as ‘I’m experiencing feelings of guilt right now’, rather than jumping to ‘I am a terrible person’.
A tried and true way to practice mindfulness is through the use of journaling. With Halo, you can use Moments such as Accepting the Present and Stream of Consciousness to explore and accept any difficult emotions.
Step 2: Kindness
The second element of self-compassion is simply being kind towards yourself. Give yourself with the support you'd so readily give a friend, with warm phrases like ‘That was really tough, anyone would have struggled with that but I know I tried my best’.
If this doesn't come naturally, you can work on self kindness with Halo. Try Moments like Inner Child and Inner Critic. These entries will guide you through the steps to manage your inner critical voice and learn to self soothe.
Step 3: Common Humanity
Practicing self compassion also involves reminding yourself that your troubles are part of the collective human experience. Simply put: we all feel this way sometimes.
Remind yourself that we all feel inadequate sometimes, and just about everyone on earth can relate to your feelings. Not only can this save you from over-identifying with negative emotions, it can also help you feel supported and understood - a feeling of connection that we all crave every now and then.
Read next: How developing a growth mindset can help you develop new skills and learn from mistakes.