Compassion is described as having sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others, but what about ourselves? Compassion is something that we could all use a large dose of when our lives go down an unexpected dark path. Loving yourself compassionately should always be included as a part of self-care. If anyone deserves compassion, it is you, by you.
Self-love includes having compassion for yourself. Bad situations can arise without any wrong doing on our part. Being strong is great, but getting through trauma takes more than just strength. Everyone needs to love their way through dark patches in life. Compassion is part of loving yourself through. It may feel like you’re feeling sorry for yourself and that’s ok too. You will have times that you should feel sorry for yourself, without taking up camp and living in it, it’s healthy. When you give your compassion to another person, they are grateful to have your sympathy and understanding, you deserve no less from yourself.
According to Harvard Medical School, forgiving and nurturing yourself seem to have benefits in their own right. Strong self-compassion can even set the stage for better health, relationships, and general well-being. So far, research has revealed a number of benefits of self-compassion. Lower levels of anxiety and depression have been observed in people with higher self-compassion. Self-compassionate people recognize when they are suffering and are kind to themselves at these times, thereby lowering their own levels of related anxiety and depression.
Learning How to Give Compassion
The luckiest of us have come by self-compassion naturally, but most of us need to learn how. Several methods have been proven to work to learn this skill and more research is always being done about it. Here are 4 techniques that will help you to give self-compassion a good head start.
- Comfort your body. Take a warm bath, lie down for a while, massage your feet, head or neck. All of these will help you feel better almost immediately. These things comfort you and show compassion to what you are going through. Take a walk, eat well, and try to relax as much as you can. Your body needs you.
- Write a letter. It is one thing to have thoughts, it’s a completely different dynamic when you write your thoughts down. Write a letter to yourself as if you are writing your best friend. Say how awful you feel, how sad you are, then give encouragement to get through. Don’t write a hate letter, write about how you feel without putting any blame on anyone, including yourself.
- Encouragement. Be the encouragement that you would give to your child or best friend who is going through hard times. Tell yourself that you’re going to make it, you’re doing good. Let them flow from your heart to your brain. When you start to feel like you’re sinking, build yourself back up, you’ve got this and you really are going to be ok.
- Live in the moment. While you are in pain you will be flooded with emotions out of the blue. You may be fine one moment and start crying in the next. At these times look around you and see the beauty of yourself and the blessings that you have. This is just one piece of your life. It might be a really big piece, but it’s still just one. Remind yourself constantly that you have more than what is causing you pain.
Self-compassion won’t come easy to everyone, but it is worth practicing. Besides the health benefits that you will receive from it, peace, if even for a moment, is worth the work to get there. Always remember to take care of your body and nurture yourself when you are down. Write a letter as if you’re writing it to your best friend. Give yourself encouragement while walking through the fire. Try to live in the moment and count your blessings even when they are hard to see. Self-compassion will make any hard time just a little bit easier. You are worth it.