Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

“If compassion does not include yourself, it’s incomplete”.  

the word compassion
Photo by Faith Giant on Pexels.com

How many times have you been kind to others, and tried to alleviate their sufferings all along neglecting your own suffering? 

We, as women have been conditioned and taught since birth to serve others specifically men in this patriarchal society, and we do so all our life. Each of us, serve our fathers, brothers, partners, sons, colleagues, and even strangers. We bend backwards to help others, to be there for everyone, to alleviate their sufferings, and do anything in our power to ease their worries, even if it cost us our peace.

But, What if we offered ourselves the same love and kindness, we strive to offer others?

Could we for once try to be self-compassionate and put ourselves first? Tell me what stops us from being kind to ourselves, watching out for our personal safety, from accepting, embracing, and loving ourselves?  

It’s not like we don’t know how to be self-compassionate; we just don’t permit ourselves to be self-compassionate. For some reason, we deem this as an expense rather than a necessity. So, let’s take a look at self-compassion and its components.

What is the essence of self-compassion?

black and white seated person holding hands
Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

For most of us, self-compassion may seem like a splendour rather than a need — or even an ultra-modern craze for people with an excess of free time on their hands.

In specialist literature, the terms “self-compassion” and “self-love” are often used correspondingly. Having more self-compassion upsurges adaptability and strength when facing tragedy, consenting individuals to recuperate more rapidly from suffering. It also assists you in coping with disappointment, guilt or shame in a more effective manner.

Sbarra and colleagues, portrayal on the work of Prof. Neff, define self-compassion as a concept that consists of three constituents: forgiveness, acceptance, and compassion.

Compassion for oneself – treating oneself with appreciation and forgiveness.

Acknowledgement – accepting the fact that people are imperfect and personal views are a part of the broader human experience.

Emotional equilibrium and the avoidance of over identification with unpleasant emotions – for which mindfulness is recommended.

Identifying Self-compassion

Photo by Cup of Couple on Pexels.com

We women have an ocean of love and a valley of care in us, but we do not give a drop of it to ourselves. Most people link self-compassion with being soft and delicate, yet Prof. Neff presents the essence of self-compassion in her book by these strong words that, “self-compassion” maybe both, intense and delicate at the same time. Being delicate with oneself entails “being with” yourself in an accepting manner such as:

Soothing yourself in pain

Telling yourself that you are not alone

Embracing and supporting yourself

Acknowledging pain

Being present with your sorrow

These are all instances of delicate self-compassion.

Taking Action

To relieve suffering is intense self-compassion and it usually entails:

  1. Safeguarding
  2. Caring for
  3. Stimulating one’s well-being
  4. Setting limits and healthy boundaries to protect yourself
  5. Saying no without explaining yourself
  6. Standing up for one’s self
  7. Doing the things you love unapologetically

The Importance of Self-compassion

“Being supportive and kind to yourself, especially in the face of stress and failure- is associated with more motivation and better self-control”

— Kelly McGonigal

Self-compassion is a great approach to improve both your intrapersonal and interpersonal well-being. You are better equipped to deal with life’s challenges when you are conscious of your suffering. A loving, integrated, and peaceful state of mind and soul helps to lessen behavioral problems while simultaneously improving happiness and purpose in life.

Self-compassion serves as a portable source of companionship and support. In contrast to self-esteem, self-compassion is a reliable ally in both excellent and terrible circumstances. To enhance your capacity to heal, you need to embrace yourself with the same compassion that you’ve been giving to others. 

To practice self-compassion, you must treat yourself with the same care and concern that you would show to family, friends, strangers in need. In the face of aversities and failures, you must react with self-forgiveness, kindness, self-compassion rather than harsh self-criticism, understanding that imperfection is a part of the shared human experience.

We all make errors and fail. We all are inadequate at times. Sometimes we can’t help or be there for others even if we want to. No, not because we are selfish but because we are self-compassionate.

Be Self-compassionate

a transparent glass timer
Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Pexels.com

Self-compassion is not an innate trait rather it’s a conscious behavioral practice that grows each time you care about yourself. I hope you practice self-compassion and see the transformative changes in your life. Once you become self-compassionate, you embrace your flaws as beauty and find your true self.

So, promise yourself to be self-compassionate from this moment forward, not because you have to but because you care.