What is Self-Compassion? (And 5 Ways to Build It)
We’ve all heard about the importance of treating other people with kindness.
But we often don’t extend this kindness to ourselves.
You might find it easy to criticize your thoughts and actions, and speak to yourself in a way you would never speak to your friends.
So how can you be more compassionate to yourself?
Here at KMA Therapy, we’re passionate about empowering you with the skills you need to live the life you deserve. For over 14 years, we've helped our clients learn how to extend the compassion they give to others back to themselves. We’re here to teach you about self-compassion and help you start feeling better today.
After reading this article, you’ll know what self-compassion is, why it's so important, and five great ways to boost your self-compassion.
What is Self-Compassion?
Self-compassion is the act of being kind to yourself. It’s when you’re able to be gentle with your emotions and turn the same compassion you’d extend to others to yourself.
Self-compassion allows you to be sympathetic to yourself when you make mistakes instead of judging or punishing yourself.
Why is Self-Compassion Important?
Self-compassion does more than make us feel better.
Research has shown that self-compassion boosts:
Higher levels of self-compassion are also related to lower levels of anxiety and depression.
Now you know the benefits of self-compassion, but how can you grow your self-compassion?
5 Ways to Love Yourself More
1. Forgive yourself when you make mistakes
Whether you did something embarrassing at a party or said something awkward to a friend, it’s easy to obsess over your mistakes.
But mistakes can be our biggest teachers.
Everyone makes mistakes, and choosing to learn from them instead of berating yourself for them can boost your self-compassion.
2. Embrace the idea of common humanity
It can be easy to feel isolated. We often feel like we’re the only people in the world who experience the things we do or feel the things we feel.
Embracing your common humanity means recognizing people's shared experiences and realizing you’re not as alone as you think you are.
It can be helpful to reach out to support groups or online chat boards to connect with people who have been through the same struggles as you and recognize that you are not alone.
3. Practice mindfulness
When our thoughts are racing, it can be easy to get into a negative spiral of things we did and said wrong.
Engaging in a mindfulness exercise, like taking a walk in nature or meditating, can help relax you and help you accept any complicated feelings you may be experiencing.
4. View self-compassion as a journey, not a goal
It can be easy to see loving ourselves as a milestone we have to reach. However, self-compassion isn’t an accomplishment you need to achieve – it’s a journey to start treating yourself more kindly.
Some days this will be easy, and some days it will be a challenge to have compassion for yourself – and that’s okay.
5. Attend therapy to nurture your self-compassion
Seeing a therapist can help you:
- Find a safe environment to explore feelings of shame and guilt
- Explore new ways to notice your thoughts and feelings
- Have a grounded perspective of yourself and others
- Build more empathy for yourself
Working with a therapist can be a great way to identify and overcome any blocks to self-compassion.
Next Steps for Boosting Your Self-Compassion
After reading this article, you understand what self-compassion is, why it’s beneficial, and how you can boost your own self-compassion today.
Here at KMA, we’ve spent the past 14 years matching clients with their ideal therapists to create customized therapy plans and help them thrive.
If you’re not yet ready to book an appointment, explore these resources to learn more:
- To learn more about mindfulness, read: What is Mindfulness – and Can it Improve Your Wellbeing?
- To find a therapist in Toronto, read: How to Find a Therapist for Self-Esteem in Toronto
- For more tips on feeling better, read: 5 Ways to Boost Your Self-Esteem Today