Self-compassion is all about treating yourself how you would treat a good friend who is having a tough time. You wouldn’t ridicule, attack or belittle a friend, so why do it to yourself? Self-compassion takes place when we acknowledge a few different components of mindfulness. Firstly, awareness. We need to acknowledge that we are struggling and that is OK, we approach ourselves with kindness. Second, we have to remind ourselves of ‘common humanity’. This is the understanding that, unfortunately, pain and mistakes are all part of life. Every person on this planet has struggled at some point and millions of others will struggle today for some reason. Finally, we mindfully observe how we’re feeling without trying to exaggerate or change it. Usually, we are then in a much better place to work out what action we need to take.
Watch this video to demonstrate why showing ourselves compassion is so difficult:
At first, compassion can sound quite ‘fluffy’ and some may even say it’s a sign of weakness. Nothing could be further from the truth. Self-compassion allows us to work with the internal dialogue so many of us struggle with. It helps us make decisions without constant rumination. Most importantly, however, it helps us learn not to be judgemental towards ourselves and others.
Certain aspects of these meditations might not work for you. So use them to find a routine that works for you. If, like me, you don’t like putting your hand on your ‘heart area’, then don’t do it. Remember, there is no ‘correct way’ to practice mindfulness and self-compassion.
Over the next week or so, have a go at these meditations. You’ll be surprised by how effective they can be:
Self-compassion break. 6 mins:
Compassion with equanimity. 14 mins:
Noting Meditation. 16 mins:
Soften, Soothe, Allow. 14 mins
Metta Meditation. 12 mins: