One of the essential things that we can learn in our lives is to love ourselves. Self-love means, in part, having a healthy respect for our own needs. It also means knowing how to express compassion for ourselves when we make mistakes. We are all human and need tenderness from those in our lives, especially ourselves. However, this isn’t something we are generally taught in life. Below we provide five essential steps to starting on the journey to loving yourself through self-compassion.
5 Important Ways to Practice Self-Compassion
- Step 1: Practice Forgiveness – Punishing ourselves for mistakes only interferes with our ability to overcome them. Be loving with yourself, and know that you are not a perfect being and will have shortcomings. Your friends and family, who have their own shortcomings, will still value you because of your inner self, not for being faultless. Those who fail to do this are struggling with their own demons.
- Step 2: Focus On Growth – Every time you make a mistake, it’s sowing seeds for personal growth. Acknowledging that you made a mistake is important, but so is learning from it. Focus on understanding what circumstances created the situation, and take steps to prevent a recurrence. Circumstances can include people, places, times, and even substances. Knowing these factors can help you grow and move on.
- Step 3: Be Grateful – Being able to experience gratitude for what you have and where you are is essential. You have great strength now, at this moment. You have good things in your life, however minimal. Focus on these will help you find the strength to grow them and develop more of them in your life. It will also help you know what needs culling to help create space for greater blessings.
- Step 4: Be Generous, But Conservative – Generosity is a great boon to our well-being and those around us. However, should it reach a point where your generosity is impacting your own well-being, it’s a problem. Learn to identify your own balance of giving vs. self-care. Give only as much as you can without impacting your own happiness, health, and ability to support yourself.
- Step 5: Practice Mindfulness – Self-compassion thrives in a state of mindfulness. By staying fully present in the now, self-judgment becomes more difficult. Self-judgment finds its core in what-ifs and hypothetical situations, past and present. Living in the moment limits your ability to be self-judgmental and helps you focus on the good things in your life.
Learn Self-Compassion With A Mental Health Practitioner
The journey to practicing self-compassion can be a difficult one. Many people come from an upbringing where we weren’t taught the necessary skills to do so. Reaching out to a mental health practitioner can help you develop these skills and identify where greater compassion is necessary. The act of self-compassion is not a selfish one. It helps to create a firm foundation from which we can support and care for others in our lives. You are worthy of love, are valuable without doing for others, and are allowed to be imperfect.