Self-care is not selfish or self-indulgent. We cannot nurture others from a dry well. We need to take care of our own needs first, so that we can give from our surplus, our abundance. When we nurture others from a place of fullness, we feel renewed instead of taken advantage of.
— Jennifer Louden
What is Self-Compassion?
A few years ago, while strolling in Barnes & Nobles with my cousin, she suggested I buy a guided journal. Little reluctant but ready to try a new experience, I bought the one with the title ‘Mindful Journaling’.
For the next few days, in the morning, religiously, I would open a random page and make sure to follow the positive message for the day and write my experience in the evening.
One day, I opened a random page, read a sentence – “be kind to me for the entire day”. My mind started rustling, what would it feel like to be kind to myself?
Coming to America as an immigrant, I always thought of my family for many years. Being divorced from an abusive marriage, I had always thought of my ex-husband and his family. After divorce, I always thought of my subordinates as dutiful leader. I was full of compassion for others all the time and had no clue about how to be kind to myself.
What would be like to be kind to me? I started searching on the Internet, read a book and blogs by Kristin Neff, and was surprised to find out how easy it was and how hard I found it in my life to put me first.
Since then I started practicing Self-Compassion and it was a life-fulfilling experience. I learned to be kind to me and make others understand my existence so they reciprocate self-compassion to them too.
Self-compassion is not about being selfish, self-focused, or self-esteem. These are temporary states of the mind. Where you have ups and downs of your emotions and self-worth. Self-compassion is unconditional love to you no matter what you are and who you are.
Forgive yourself for your mistakes. You always have a chance to improve, your approach in that journey should be positive learning and let go.
How is Self-Compassion different from Compassion to others?
Self-compassion is simply giving the same kindness to ourselves that we would give to others.
— Christopher Germer
Our society is so much focused on thinking of others, thinking for others, how to help others and how to give others priority.
Have you ever noticed mindfully that in the airplane, when they give instructions about emergency lending, they instruct that you put an oxygen mask on you first, before helping others? Self-compassion is the same way, help yourself first to help others.
I realized that being self-compassionate only helps one to be more compassionate to others.
How to achieve Self-Compassion
- Detach Toxic Relationships and people from your life
Toxic relationships drag you down, and in many cases make you feel guilty or in doubt about yourself. Toxic people demand more attention and control given to them. Cutting a toxic relationship if it is personal or professional is crucial to achieving self-compassion.
I made sure to apply zero Tolerance to my personal and professional relationships. If someone is toxic and that is affecting you, try to stay away from the person if you cannot totally cut off the relationship or manage around.
- Detach from Selfish Friends
Some people are not toxic but they are still selfish. They put themselves before you and not with the intention of self-compassion. They may put you in a situation where you would end up giving a lot more than that person would ever give to you. If you are in that situation, stay away from that relationship.
- Love yourself unconditionally
Value yourself, in your present and past. If you are in bad shape, if you are depressed, if you do not have a job – no matter how your circumstances are, just believe in yourself and value yourself. You can work towards improving your situation more positively when you accept and love yourself in the current situation, including your imperfect past and vulnerabilities.
- Respect your time
Time is very crucial, once it is lost, it never comes back. Make sure you have good people around you and spending time with them is productive, fulfilling, and joyful for you. If you are surrounded by people where you are primarily in the giving role and people around you are not reciprocating your emotions, it is time to rethink how to spend your time and with whom.
- Listen to your gut
Listen to your gut, listen to your body. If your gut says something is wrong, give it consideration. Have confidence in yourself. Check if you have blocked emotions if you feel pain somewhere in your body.
You know a lot more than you think you know. If you feel inner peace, you are on the right track. You should believe in your life path. Do not surrender to others’ opinions, you know best for yourself. This is your journey, not theirs. Practice hearing the voice of your higher self, you can only achieve this by listening to your gut. It is very hard to balance sometimes as our mind is so attuned to this world and how things should be. Give yourself the freedom to believe in your inner voice.
- Meditation, Therapy, and activities
Engage in physical, creative, and health and wellness activities. Do yoga, go dancing, or go out close to nature. Meditate regularly or practice any energy healing practices like Reiki or Sound healing. Go to the therapist and healer, if you need external guidance.
- You are not alone
You are always imperfect and the more you will engage yourself in activities, the more you will find out how imperfect you are, but you are not alone. Everyone around us is imperfect, they carry baggage, they have their past too. Treat your inner child and practice mindfulness.
It is never too late to practice Self-Compassion! Be kind to yourself 🙂