12 Simple Ways to Practice Self-Compassion

Becoming self-compassionate is key to living a fulfilling life. Here are 12 simple ways to practice self-compassion.

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  • The relationship you have with yourself is the only relationship in your life that will last from the day you are born until the day you die.
  • You need to learn to treat yourself exactly like you would treat someone you love unconditionally.
  • In the following, you will find 12 simple ways to practice self-compassion.

Self-compassion is a buzzword that gets tossed around a lot lately, but what does it actually mean? Is self-compassion nothing but another spirituality trend that has little substance?

The answer is a clear no. Self-compassion is a powerful tool that can help improve your life in many ways.

Before we get any further, let’s take some time to define what self-compassion actually is. Simply put, self-compassion means being kind and understanding to yourself when you mess up or experience pain. It’s about treating yourself with the same caring attitude you’d show to a good friend, a family member, or a lover.

Practicing self-compassion can help improve your mood, increase your resilience in the face of stress and setbacks, and make you happier overall.

The great thing about self-compassion is that you can always practice it. Whether you are at a high point in your life or are experiencing extremely turbulent times, being more compassionate towards yourself is always useful.

So, how does one start to practice self-compassion?

Well, it is not nearly as difficult as it sounds – all you have to do is start making tiny changes in how you relate to yourself. Today, we will be looking at some of the steps that everyone can take to repair their relationship with the self.

Without further ado, here are 12 easy ways to start practicing self-compassion today:

Use positive self-talk

If you were not raised by people who nurtured your needs, you might have developed a habit of putting yourself down when you make mistakes. Self-criticism is valuable for learning from our mistakes, but there is a difference between healthy self-criticism and kicking yourself when you are already down.

Be aware of your inner dialogue and catch yourself when you start being harsh on yourself or calling yourself names.

The fact that you failed at something does not mean that this failure must become a part of your identity.

Just because you do not have many friends does not make you a “loser”. Just because you are currently not earning as much as you like does not make you “unsuccessful.”

Life is fluid and circumstances change. Thus, it is of utmost importance to be kind to ourselves, even if we mess up. We are only human after all.

Want to know a simple trick for making positive self-talk a habit? Just think about how kind people would talk to you, then try to apply that tone in your thinking towards yourself. Or, as superstar therapist Dr. Jordan Peterson said – “Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping.”

Accept reality

Self-compassion starts with accepting reality. Once you are aware that something is not right with you or around you, you can start tackling the problem.

When someone close to me is struggling, I nearly always advise starting with accepting the problem. The answer is always the same – “How can I accept this kind of unfairness and tragedy?”

My answer? Accepting something and enjoying or liking something is not the same. Acceptance is all about getting rid of delusions that some magic force is going to somehow change your reality with a snap of a finger. The faster you accept your reality, the quicker you will be able to start finding solutions.

Once you accept the situation with your heart and soul, you will begin to feel so much lighter and grounded. This will also make it so much easier to find solutions that will truly fix whatever is going on.

Take care of your mind and body

To truly appreciate ourselves, we need to treat our bodies and minds as sacred. While this may sound difficult for some, treating your body like a temple is actually surprisingly simple.

Just try to become slightly better every day. Try eating healthy food that fuels your body, exercising regularly, and resting well.

You do not need to become a superhuman, but the more you care for your mind and body, the easier it becomes to practice self-compassion.

Try to let go of all grudges

“Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” – This popular phrase is more than appropriate here.

You see, forgiveness is one of the keys to self-compassion. When you forgive yourself and other people for their wrongdoings, it lowers your stress levels, helps clear your mind of unnecessary thoughts, boosts your mood, and raises your overall resilience.

That said, sometimes people can be evil. Maybe you truly find it impossible to forgive someone who has seriously wronged you. If so, don’t push yourself to forgive this person. Instead, focus on eliminating this person from your thoughts and try your best to move on. Just letting go of the grudge is more than enough in such cases.

Remember that no one is perfect

Perfection is an ideal many people have been conditioned to seek out from a young age.
In fact, our society often tells us that we must be the best at everything we do and wear a mask of perfectionism any time we wish to succeed in life.

Want to see how conditioned we truly are? Just take a quick glance at one of your social media feeds – everything seems like roses and rainbows, doesn’t it?

The truth is, even those who seem “perfect” have their own sets of challenges and problems they’re facing every day.

While being hopeful about your future is important, there comes a point when this need to be perfect begins to hinder our ability to do or deal with certain things.

Sometimes, just writing this blog is a reminder of my own unreasonable pursuit of perfectionism. I have to constantly remind myself that I am writing this blog for my readers and myself. There comes a point where obsessing over every single sentence is not useful for anyone involved.

In order to combat this idea that you must be perfect in order to live a happy life, remind yourself that mistakes are not only natural but necessary.

As long as you do your best and learn from your experiences, you are on the path to living a fulfilling life.

Don't try to fix the problems of other people

We all have those days where we feel like every problem in the world is our responsibility to fix, and that’s understandable! You must be so sick of seeing your loved ones hurting or going through a tough time. However, in the long term, holding yourself responsible for the problems of other people will only lead to stress and burnout.

The next time something bad happens – especially if it has nothing to do with you – try not to get involved too much. Of course, you can listen and suggest solutions if possible. However, that doesn’t mean that you will have to carry the burdens of others in your own daily life.

Constantly taking on the problems of other people will be an obstacle on your way to practicing self-compassion. So, it is best to avoid it as much as possible.

Don't compare yourself to other people

It’s very important to understand that everyone in this world has unique interests, talents, experiences, friendships, etc., so it would be impossible to compare them all!

As cliché as it sounds, each person in the world is special in their own way with something extraordinary to offer.

Instead of putting down your abilities or skills by comparing them to those of others, appreciate what makes you different. As you practice this, you will quickly notice that when you’re content with yourself just the way you are, life becomes a little more manageable!

Try not to view yourself as being separate from everything around you

One of the biggest hurdles for people who don’t practice self-compassion is their overwhelming sense of isolation.

When you look inside yourself do you feel alone with no one else to confide in or turn to for advice? Yes, we all feel lonely sometimes, but that doesn’t mean it’s healthy!

Instead of holding on to feelings of loneliness when you are going through a tough time, try looking to the world and everything in it for guidance and support. You will quickly find that there is a nearly infinite amount of people who are going through exactly the same thing you are.

In that sense, loneliness is never a fact. Take the time to remind yourself of this. And, in situations of crisis, try to connect with people who are going through the same thing you are.

Connections like this will do the world of good for your ability to be self-compassionate.

Give yourself a break every now and then

One self-compassion tip is to allow yourself more free time from work or studying. Yes, I already hear you saying that this is simply not possible. Well, I disagree.

Instead of starting to clean your living space in your free time, just sit down and relax for a while. Instead of taking on an extra shift at work for a bigger paycheck, deliberately use this day for engaging in mindfulness exercises.

The examples are nearly endless – the fact is, you can find more free time if you want. You just have to take a hard look at your priorities.

And, your mental and spiritual health should be at the very top of your priority list.

You see, the constant pressure from work or school can often lead to burnout and exhaustion if not properly dealt with.

In many cases, all people need is some time off to realize just how much they’re actually capable of doing within a given amount of time.

In a nutshell, your free time is just as important as time spent at work or school. This is something that everyone who practices self-compassion understands.

Let go of constant judgment

We are walking and talking machines of judgment. This is not our fault – it is just how our brains are wired. It is so much easier for us to see someone or something and construct our impressions in seconds, without ever thinking of the bigger picture.

However, when it comes to self-compassion and relationships with other people, automatic judgments do more harm than good. For example, I would have never gotten to know some of my best friends if I would have decided who they are based on my first impressions.

As years have passed, I have consciously made the effort to steer clear of flash judgments. I try to view every person I meet as something bigger than what is in front of my face right now.
This person has a long past, and hopefully a long future.

What I am currently seeing is just a snapshot of this person at this moment in time.

Thinking of the bigger picture when I meet other people has also done wonders for my own self-compassion. I find it so much easier to forgive and understand myself.

Practice mindfulness

Pay attention non-judgmentally in the present moment while taking note of your thoughts and feelings. You can do so by finding a quiet place and gently focusing on your breath. I suggest starting with 5 minutes each day.

The most important thing here is to not suppress any feeling or emotion that comes up. Imagine your thoughts as passing clouds – something that is not good or bad, it just IS.

By doing this regularly, you will become friends with who you are as a whole. You will learn to accept all of your emotions and feelings. Even those that you are currently not proud of.

Treat yourself to something nice

Material things are never the ultimate answer to your problems. That said, to practice self-compassion, you sometimes need to turn to some good old-fashioned pampering.

Buy something that you have been wanting for a long time. Treat yourself to a spa weekend. Binge-watch Netflix for an entire weekend.

The options are endless. Sometimes, self-care is all about NOT being productive or looking for big spiritual answers. Sometimes, self-care looks exactly like the opposite of doing something important.

Treat yourself to things you enjoy once in a while. In fact, make it a habit! You will quickly see how much your self-respect will grow.

Finishing thoughts

The 12 tips I’ve given you are a great place to start when it comes to practicing self-compassion. But they are just that – a starting point. Remember, self-compassion is something that you need to work on every day.

It won’t always be easy, but the more you practice, the easier it will become. And the benefits – both for your mental and physical health – are worth it. So give these tips a try and see how they work for you. And if you ever find yourself struggling, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. There are plenty of people who want to support you on your journey to self-compassionate living.