Life brings a myriad of experiences and emotions. Along with the positive ones, there are also fears, suffering, frustrations, losses, mistakes, choices you regret, limitations and falling short of expectations, amongst many others.
While these experiences are part of the human condition, you may feel you are alone in your suffering.
Compassion means to suffer along with someone else, but also to have a desire to alleviate the suffering. Self-compassion means turning that desire for reprieve back towards yourself.
The first step toward self-compassion is to honor and accept your humanness without judgment — an acceptance of what is happening in the moment.
Next, offer love, kindness and understanding towards yourself when you are struggling with failure, fear, limitations or wrong choices so you can respond to your pain with compassion.
Dr. Kristin Neff, widely recognized as one of the world’s leading experts on the subject, says, “Self-compassion involves asking yourself, how can I best comfort and care for myself in this moment?” Be present with yourself so you can clearly hear the most loving and compassionate solution.
When the struggling and suffering feels less intense, take some time to reflect on yourself and your life more clearly. This involves acknowledging that while you have fears, faults and failings like all humans, you also have good qualities and emotions and are deserving of love, kindness and compassion.
Over time, compassion towards yourself and others becomes your way of being in the world and is a powerful force that will continually transform your life, the lives of those you deeply care about and ultimately ripple out to the world.