What is Self-Compassion or Self-Love? And why is it so important?
It can feel slightly uncomfortable to use words like Self-Compassion. A bit of a strange concept for many of us to talk about being loving towards ourselves… Personally I noticed that it is a lot easier to criticize myself rather than sending compliments my way- and I believe I’m not alone in this.
Some of it has to do with how we grew up…. yes it does always seem to come back to that same old story! Well meaning parents, teachers, caretakers wanting us to do well and pointing out all the things we can improve on. Noticing everything that’s already great about us probably wasn’t on the radar quite as much.
Those words of our childhood do become our inner voice, and lot’s of us have to learn to be more compassionate, encouraging and positive towards ourself. Louise Hay was a pioneer offering this kind of work in the 80’s and she wrote the bestseller “How to heal your life” (a classic that I highly recommend if you’re interested in this topic). A lot of her work revolved around truly accepting and loving yourself as you are. Her mirror work was a powerful aspect of this: She suggested to look in the mirror right into your eyes, and say encouraging and loving words to yourself. This idea is based on the concept that caregivers most likely had eye contact with you when you were criticized. It also helps to truly reach the core of your being when looking into your own eyes saying positive statements. I have always been fascinated with this kind of work, and how you can change those inner scripts which are running on auto pilot (stay tuned for my upcoming blog about Yoga Nidra Meditation which is an amazing transformative tool).
3 Tips on How to be more Compassionate with Yourself:
- Say something positive to yourself every day: It doesn’t have to be in front of a mirror if that doesn’t feel right for you! Say it out loud while driving in your vehicle, think of it while cooking dinner or write it in a notebook. It can be something that you said or did, a personality trait or maybe something that you like about your body. While you practice this, also keep an eye out for the negative voices: It’s hard to catch them sometimes, but once noticing stop immediately and replace them with supportive words.
- When you experience fear, anger, sadness or any other unpleasant feeling don’t push it away or distract yourself: You’re allowed to feel those emotions and it’s actually good for you to notice them. Observe what it feels like in your body, sit with it for a while and then let it pass. Maybe even confirm that it’s okay to feel that way and support yourself by saying something like “I know that’s hard, you must feel really disappointed.” Again this goes way back to a time when you maybe weren’t allowed to feel or show those kind of emotions.
- Treat yourself to something nice regularly: Find a new favourite coffee mug, flowers or a new book. Take a break and go for a walk. Have a relaxing bubble bath and light some candles. Try a new hobby and find something that makes your heart sing. Connect with a friend that you haven’t talked to in a while. It’s often those seemingly little things that truly nurture our soul!
~ Yulia Sauter