Talking to many of my patients and even learning from personal experience, being kind to oneself can be hard, especially when we make mistakes or are faced with our own failures. Our inner critic that blames and shames us can go off and make us feel stupid and small. Take it from a therapist: this is rarely ever helpful. In the following blog, I would like to talk about why we should make a conscious effort to practice self-compassion and how learning to talk to yourself compassionately could lead to positive effects on your life.
Self-compassion has been linked to a range of positive psychological outcomes, including improved mood, self-esteem, resilience, productivity, increased feelings of happiness, optimism, social connectedness, greater life satisfaction; the list goes on! Research has also found greater self-compassion is linked to reduced anxiety, depression, stress and fear of failure.
On the other hand, self-judgment and self-criticism has been associated with negative psychological outcomes, including anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. When we judge ourselves harshly, we are more likely to experience feelings of shame, guilt, and self-doubt, which can negatively impact our mental health and relationships.
Ways to Practice Self-Compassion:
1. Treat yourself with kindness: Practice speaking to yourself in the same way you would speak to a friend. Be gentle, understanding, and forgiving towards yourself, especially when you make mistakes.
2. Practice mindfulness: Take a few minutes each day to focus on the present moment and become aware of your thoughts and feelings. Mindfulness can help you become more aware of your self-talk and learn to shift negative self-talk to self-compassionate talk.
3. Practice gratitude: Take time each day to reflect on the things you are grateful for. Focusing on positive experiences and things you are thankful for can help shift your mindset to one of compassion and positivity.
4. Connect with others: Make an effort to connect with friends and loved ones, and be open and honest about your struggles. This can help you recognise that you are not alone and that others around you who may have similar experiences can provide you with support.
If you are struggling with self-judgment, self-criticism, or other mental health concerns, consider seeking professional help. Psychologists can provide you with the treatment and support you need to help you develop strategies for practicing self-compassion, guiding you toward a more compassionate and fulfilling life.
Wherever you are, may you be kind to yourself today! Today is a great day to start.