With self-compassion, we give ourselves the same kindness and care we’d give to a good friend. Instead of judging and criticizing yourself for various failures, self-compassion means you are kind and understanding when confronted with personal failings.
When I undergo frustrations, failures, or limitations I can choose to honor and accept my human experience, using self-compassion.
In the previous article, we explored the three elements of self-compassion – self kindness (vs self judgement), common humanity (vs isolation) and mindfulness (vs over identification).
In this article, we will be primarily looking at what is not self-compassion.
Firstly, we take a look at self-pity. When we pity ourselves for our suffering, we tell ourselves that nobody has it as bad as we have had it. We are alone in this pain and hurt, and that no one can understand what we are going through. But the truth is, yes nobody can experience your pain or hurt just like you (by the limitations of being a human being) but one can always come close, because like the second element of self-compassion suggests under common humanity, we’re all in this suffering together. So the next time, you find yourself self-pitying, remember that doing so will only isolate you from the rest of us and make it worse for you.
“Yes it is very difficult what I’m going through right now, but there are many other people who are experiencing much greater suffering. Perhaps this isn’t worth getting quite so upset about…”
Next, we look at self-indulgence. We tend to stuff ourselves with packs of chips, or liquor or drugs or cigarettes each time we see some pain coming our way. But some methods can only provide us with some short term relief, in the long term they do not benefit us at all. Maybe you drown yourself in liquor right now but by the time you get up, the pain is still there. Liquor just helped you avoid it for some time. So using self-compassion, you can find healthier ways of dealing with your pain like talking to a friend, hugging yourself, giving yourself a nice warm bath, journalling and eating healthy.
“I’m stressed out today so to be kind to myself I’ll just watch TV all day and eat a quart of icecream.”
And lastly, we look at self-esteem, in whose case we treat ourselves nicely only if we perform well. It is only if I score well on the test or land myself with that job that I will take care of myself. Otherwise, I will drag myself on and on and on till I achieve my goal. I need to prove that I am worthy of my own compassion. Well, if I go by that standard, then we should water plants only when they bloom or bear us fruits. But we don’t. We take care of them irrespectively. Self-compassion is not dependent on your performance but on you being a human. That’s quite the credibility you need.
“It is only when I get a better job than my friend, that I will start respecting myself again.”
We hope with this article, we helped you understand self-compassion a bit better.