Recent psychological studies are confirming the wisdom that has long been taught in Buddhism and other traditions, that developing more compassion for yourself will make you happier and more successful at reaching your goals. Whatever your spiritual beliefs, these are some of the benefits of self-compassion and methods for attaining them.
Benefits of Having Compassion for Yourself
1. Experience greater happiness. Self-compassion means valuing yourself and treating yourself well. You’re bound to feel better when you remove negative self-talk and become a better friend to yourself.
2. Accomplish your goals more easily. There’s no need to criticize yourself to eliminate bad habits. Accept your flaws and focus on action plans that are realistic for you. If you break your diet, start again with the next meal. If you’re denied one job opening, beef up your resume so you’re ready for the next opening.
3. Become more resilient. Accept that life is full of ups and downs; take them in stride instead of being derailed by self-pity. You’ll bounce back faster when you realize that challenges and setbacks are as inevitable as rainy days.
4. Feel more motivated. When you learn to value yourself, you’ll feel more committed to making investments in your future. Giving yourself the freedom to make mistakes reduces the anxiety that holds you back from trying new things.
5. Feel more connected with others. The philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer suggested that we call each other “my fellow sufferer.” When we realize that we all want to be happy but we often need to become more skillful at creating happiness, we recognize how much we have in common with everyone around us.
6. Express more compassion towards others. If you’re gentle with yourself, you’re more apt to carry that mindset into your interaction with loved ones and strangers. You’ll be mindful of the challenges we all face and have a stronger desire to help others.
Methods For Developing More Compassion for Yourself
1. Dispel the myths about self-compassion. You may associate being gentle with being lazy. But with compassion, you’re channeling your time and energy into constructive activities rather than beating up on yourself.
2. Take charge of your emotions. Accepting disappointments as part of life enables you to remain at peace. You can accept your true feelings without letting them overwhelm you.
3. Change your self-talk. We sometimes say things to ourselves that we would regard as too hurtful to say to anyone else. Focus on giving yourself practical suggestions rather than calling yourself names.
4. Relax. Create an environment where you can generate compassion. Reduce stress and transition into a better frame of mind with meditation or some soft music.
5. Treat yourself to something nice. Just like you bring a meal over to a sick friend, look for ways to be your own benefactor. Brew a cup of your favorite tea or commiserate with yourself if you get stuck in heavy traffic.
6. Surround yourself with positive role models. If you feel like you’ve been conditioned to be harsh with yourself as the only way to get results, you may need to surround yourself with reminders to stay on your new path. Observe people who seem compassionate and adapt their methods to your own situation. Read books or take a workshop on compassion.
It’s easier to overcome difficult situations when you learn to cherish and comfort yourself. Practicing self-compassion will bring you greater peace of mind and closer to your life goals.