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Tips for Practising Self Compassion

Have you ever blamed yourself or beaten yourself up for making a mistake or doing something you regret?

It’s easy to be tough on yourself—we tend to do it much, much more than we realize. But what if there was a better way of dealing with this frustration and anger? When we forgive ourselves, accept our perceived flaws, and show ourselves kindness, we are practicing self-compassion.

Self-compassion is a positive attitude we have towards ourselves, and it’s measurable. Having self-compassion means relating to yourself in a forgiving and accepting way when we’re facing difficult situations.

Three tips on how to develop self-compassion:

  1. Treat yourself as you’d treat a friend

One good place to start is by thinking about how you would treat others that you care about, if they made a mistake. Cutting yourself some slack and giving yourself permission to be ‘human’ is one way of accepting your flaws and reminding yourself that you’re not alone in being imperfect (Abrams, 2017).

  1. Becoming more self-aware

Other techniques relate to being more self-aware and tapping into our ‘self-talk’. Becoming aware of our internal narrative is a positive starting point for changing the way to talk to and about ourselves. Try self-acceptance. This means embracing your own perceived shortcomings as well as your character strengths (Morgado et al., 2014). Self-compassion is about not allowing shortcomings to define who we are—instead, thoughts and feelings are simply temporary behaviours and states (Neff, 2010).

  1. Re-gaining perspective

Let go of the need for outside validation. Author Dani DiPirro suggests that much of our negative thinking comes from how others perceive us. Choosing not to tie our happiness to external influences can be an act of self-kindness and can definitely affect how we view ourselves (Neff, 2011).

Remember, self-compassion is a skill that can be learned and developed. Why not start today?