5 Ways to Practice Self-Compassion

by Mariana Plata, Psychology Today

A while ago, I came across a wonderful post by my colleague Nicole Perry on Instagram. She shared a powerful message about self-compassion–an emotional tool I've found myself recommending more and more lately.

Between societal pressures and digital overload, we need a constant reminder that we're only human—with strengths and weaknesses, with successes and failures. And we are constantly growing and evolving. 

Dr. Kristin Neff, a self-compassion specialist, has a list of several things you can do to practice this skill more each day. Here are 5 techniques—adapted from Dr. Neff's work—to foster self-compassion:

1. Practice gratitude

Sometimes, we can forget to be thankful for the small things we can live each day. Overwhelmed by daily stress, work, responsibilities, and home, we forget to practice gratitude with ourselves. With our loved ones, for taking care of us and worrying about us. For our body, which is a self-haven of love and health.

I once read an amazing list that reminded us to look at those small and annoying daily tasks, like washing our clothes or dishes, as opportunities to remind ourselves for all the small blessings we have. When we pay attention to the small things, we can see the rest of the world with kinder eyes.

2. Be kind to yourself

When a friend asks for our advice, we try to be honest and kind. Most of us strive to find the right words to do this. Are we doing the same with ourselves? Are we being kind with the way we talk to ourselves? What do we tell ourselves when we look at our reflection in the mirror? Food for thought.

3. Forgive yourself

Similar to what I exposed in the last paragraph: When someone makes a mistake that affects us, what is the first thing we say? "Don't worry" or "'it's no big deal." Do we have this same kindness with ourselves? Sometimes, we struggle to accept that we are only human and we can make mistakes. Let's forgive ourselves and learn from our mistakes.

4. Allow yourself to "unlearn"

Have you noticed a pattern in this blog post? If we are capable of being kind to ourselves and forgiving, we can open a space to unlearn. Unlearn those mixed messages that society has sent our way, that have made us believe that our productivity is a measure of our worth. Unlearn those inner beliefs that we are not enough. Because we are, and we are worthy of love, belonging, and connection.

5. Give yourself a break

Sometimes, all we need is a break. Permission to say "I'm doing enough," "I am enough," "this is enough." And appreciate everything we have accomplished. If you have reached this point in the post, give yourself a "break." Don't abandon your beliefs, your authenticity, or yourself. Instead, take a break. Take 5 minutes to meditate, breathe, listen to your favorite song or simply disconnecting. Just five minutes.

How do you practice self-compassion daily?

About the author: Mariana Plata is a psychologist, an educator, and mental health writer based in Panama. Find out more here.


Read the article: Plata, M. (2019, August 13). 5 ways to practice self-compassion. Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/the-gen-y-psy/201908/5-ways-practice-self-compassion?fbclid=IwAR3KS186x1sdR9BCEvRLCW8W12nwnBJ_fC4goNydUFn_dNYqG5jJTDVO4Lg

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