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5 Ways To Practice Self-Compassion

5 Ways To Practice Self-Compassion

Do you find yourself being your own worst critic? When you’re struggling, what does your self-talk sound like? A major part of self-care that is often overlooked is our internal dialogue. If we aren’t speaking kindly to ourselves on the inside, no amount of external self-care will sink in. That’s where the practice of self-compassion comes in. There is now a plethora of research on the benefits and power of self-compassion, such as improved mental health, reduced pain, enhanced well-being, and better relationships, to name a few. The main premise of self-compassion is acknowledging difficult emotions and/or situations, and instead of judging and criticizing, you offer yourself kindness and understanding. Though shifting your internal dialogue is easier said than done, with practice self-compassion is proven to be a worthy pursuit.

Image is of a woman who has rainbow lighting reflected on her as she sits and stares of into the distance, thinking about self-compassion.
Photo by Chris Nguyen

Here are 5 ways you can begin to practice self-compassion:

1. Shift your critical self-talk.

This can be easier said than done, however it is amazingly transformative. If you can, catch yourself when your mind starts taking you down critical rabbit holes. Try writing down the thoughts to get some perspective. You could also try utilizing art as a tool for healing critical self-talk. Would you say those things to your closest friend? Make the shift by imagining what you would say to a loved one or your inner child in your situation.

2. Give yourself a hug.

Soothing self-touch can bring about surprising benefits. Giving yourself a loving hug signals to your body that you are safe, and in turn brings about more self-compassion. If giving yourself a hug feels uneasy, try putting a hand on your heart or gently rubbing your arm. Take some deep breaths and notice the shift.

3. Acknowledge what is hard.

Mindfulness is a major component of self-compassion. Taking a moment to recognize and acknowledge what is challenging you at the moment can often make way for self-compassion and empathy to grow. Validate that what is going on is difficult and that you are doing your best. Challenges are apart of being human, take the opportunity to offer yourself grace.

4. Write yourself a pep-talk letter.

Externalizing the shift to self-compassionate talk can be helpful in solidifying it. Write yourself a pep-talk letter with encouraging and hopeful words. It may help to imagine you are writing it to a younger or future version of yourself. Come back to this letter any time you start to doubt the power of self-compassion.

5. Practice Loving Kindness meditation.

Loving Kindness stems from Buddhist meditation practices and is now a highly researched method of improving compassion. It brings about compassion for self, as well as for others. It also has an astonishing amount of health benefits. There are many great resources and recorded Loving Kindness meditations online, such as this one by Kristin Neff.

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Though it can feel unfamiliar to practice self-compassion when it feels like life is going south, it is proven to be more productive than self-deprecation. It may seem like being critical on yourself would motivate you to change, but in actuality, self-compassion is more effective in promoting the change that you are seeking. As you are creating a life that includes self-care at it’s foundation, don’t forget the necessity of self-compassion.

How can you practice self-compassion today? Message us @Maidenfolk on Instagram and let us know, and don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter below!

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