The Importance of Self-Compassion

This week, I was thinking about the importance of self-compassion. When I work with clients that are highly self-critical, self-compassion is something that I share with and encourage them to practice. The idea of being kind to yourself may seem a bit strange, but once you gain an understanding of what this means it really does make sense.

A simple way that I like to define self-compassion is being kind towards oneself.  Self-compassion is not a denial of reality, but a full embracing of it.  We simply make a choice to cushion this reality in a warm embrace. Many of us, unfortunately, are well trained in the art of self-criticism.  This often leads us to believe that negative self-talk is the best motivator for change.  This is simply not true.  By practicing self-compassion instead of criticism, we can move towards our desired change from a place strength instead of weakness.

An article in Psychology Today entitled, The Surprising Secret to Success- Be Kind To Yourself, by Melanie A Greenberg, Ph.D, talks at more length about this.  She shares what self-compassion is (and isn’t), the benefits of this practice, and how modeling this can positively impact our children.

Quotes on Self-Compassion
I wanted to end today’s post with a few quotes that I feel express this idea of self-compassion.

“Hoping a situation will change keeps you at a distance from your true feelings–sadness, anger, fear. Each of these feelings is best appreciated up close. Feel them deeply, and they will cease to bother you. Hope they’ll go away, and they’ll bother you all day.” – Gay Hendricks

“Welcome [fear] completely, be ready to live with your fear. The moment you are ready to live with it, without trying to do anything about it, it’s already neutralized because you are already free from it.” – Francis Lucille

“Often we treat certain aspects of ourselves as junk, having no value. We try to throw parts of ourselves in the garbage. But a human being is an ecosystem, and everything in that system is of value to the whole.” – Stephen Schwartz

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