As the old saying goes, you are your own worst enemy. When something in your life goes wrong, it’s easy to blame yourself, or drown yourself in sorrow. But, think about how you would treat a friend or loved one in the same situation. You wouldn’t berate them or be cold.
Instead, you would show compassion and be empathetic to their feelings. When you adopt a more realistic, kinder view of the problems in your own life, it leads to self-compassion. That can be easier said than done for some people, but it’s not impossible for anyone.
Self-compassion is essential. It doesn’t mean you never acknowledge your faults – just the opposite. It’s about acknowledging your failures and struggles, and being kind to yourself as you work through them without judging yourself along the way.
With that in mind, let’s cover a few of the easiest ways to show yourself compassion. It’s easier than you might think to strike a healthy balance between acceptance and self-improvement.
Stress is unavoidable. It’s a part of everyday life. A little bit of it can actually be a good thing. But, excess stress can cause you to feel overwhelmed, and can break down your mental well-being. The more overwhelmed and stressed you feel, the easier it will be to take your failures out on yourself and let those negative intrusive thoughts take hold.
While you might not be able to completely get rid of stress, there are things you can do to fight back against it every day, including:
Self-care is a fantastic way to de-stress while reminding yourself that you’re valuable. Even something like cooking a healthy meal for yourself can go a long way. Plus, some foods are even better for your stress levels, including fruits with vitamin C, unrefined carbohydrates, and foods with omega-3 fatty acids. By cooking with foods that you know are good for you, you’ll feel better about yourself and more likely to treat yourself with kindness and care.
It might sound strange, but self-compassion doesn’t have to be something you foster on your own. Whether you’re trying to heal from something or you’ve always had a hard time being kind to yourself, one of the best ways to discover your value and learn how to love yourself is to spend time with the people who truly care about you.
When you try to live life on your own, you’re going to end up facing challenges that are nearly impossible to handle. When you “fail” or experience setbacks, you’re more likely to criticize yourself, and even be cruel when it comes to those failures. Being alone allows your thoughts to wander. If you’re prone to negative self-talk, depression, or anxiety, spending too much time alone can cause those negative thoughts to completely take over, and you might start to believe things about yourself that really aren’t true.
Not only will a support system help you through those hills and valleys, but they’ll remind you how great you are along the way. It’s not about stroking your ego or making you feel good. It’s about helping you recognize that you deserve kindness and compassion just as much as anyone else. You are worthy of that kind of love from yourself. Sometimes, it takes being around others to help you realize that.
Never underestimate the power of a good cry.
Multiple studies have shown that there are real benefits to crying, even if whatever might cause you to cry usually doesn’t feel good. Crying is a self-soothing practice. It releases oxytocin and endorphins in the brain – chemicals that are designed to make you feel happier. These chemicals also promote healing, both mentally and physically.
Have you ever cried over something and then felt a sense of relief afterward? That’s not a coincidence. The negative situation didn’t magically disappear, but crying about it helped you find a release.
Crying is also good for your overall health. Some of the biggest benefits include:
Crying can be exhausting. You might feel like you should take a nap after letting your feelings out that way. But, that exhaustion really stems from the emotions you’ve been trying so hard to keep in for too long. A good cry can help you become more in tune with those emotions. You’ll recognize that they’re very real, worthy of acceptance, and important to work through. As a result, you’ll also see the importance and value of your emotions and you’ll be less likely to judge yourself.
Showing yourself compassion doesn’t have to be complicated. Start treating yourself as someone you love, and you might be surprised by the results.
By Katie Brenneman
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