How to practice self-compassion
Although it might be difficult at first, it can really help your overall well-being and mental health
Written by spunout
Fact checked by experts and reviewed by young people.
Being compassionate towards others means showing love and kindness to people who are going through a difficult time. You might listen to their worries, make them a cup of tea and listen to them talk about whatever they’re struggling with, and reassure them that you’ll be there for them if they need you. But it’s often harder for us to show the same level of care to ourselves, or to show ourselves some self-compassion.
Practicing self-compassion can help improve our mental health, our day-to-day life, and can benefit us greatly by helping to build our resilience. Once you start being self-compassionate, it often gets easier to do, and after a while it can become part of our daily routine.
How to practice self-compassion
Becoming self-compassionate takes time and effort, but it can greatly improve our wellbeing. So what obstacles do you face in being compassionate with ourselves, how can you practice self-compassion, and what are the benefits?
Some obstacles you might face
Being compassionate with yourself isn’t always the easiest thing to do. You might feel awkward at first practicing self-compassion or you might not know where to start. Some other things might prevent you from doing so, like:
- Being used to judging yourself all the time for how you feel, for the negative in things in your life or for not achieving what you wanted to achieve
- Previous life experiences where you didn’t treat yourself kindly
- Feeling uncomfortable with the idea of caring for yourself
- Being around others who make you doubt yourself
Being unsure of how to begin is normal. You can start small with practicing being kind to yourself. Bit by bit, self-compassion can become easier through daily practice and soon you can start to see the benefits.
Ways to show ourselves self-compassion
There are lots of little ways you can practice self-compassion, like taking the time to have a quiet moment each day to reflect on how you’re doing and not judging yourself for how you’re feeling.
Some might take up more time than others and there’s no one right way to practice self-compassion, so choose what feels possible and best for you.
Some things you could start doing include:
- Accepting that you are only human, you are not perfect and you are doing your best
- Acknowledging that everyone struggles with parts of themselves and their lives so, if you’re struggling that means you’re just as human as everyone around you
- Practicing mindfulness and being aware of your experiences without judgement
- Taking mistakes on board and thinking about them as ways to grow and learn, without being too hard on yourself
- Setting boundaries for yourself and knowing when something is too much to handle
- Trying to speak to yourself as you would a friend, being gentle and kind
What are the benefits?
Research shows there are many benefits of self-compassion that it can often improve our overall wellbeing, mental health, and how connected we feel to those around us.
Through self-compassion, you can boost your resilience, emotional intelligence, happiness, optimism and life satisfaction. Self-compassion can also lead to lower levels of stress, depression, anxiety and fear of failure.
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