Be Kinder To Yourself — Importance of Self-Compassion

Sometimes, it’s easy to put yourself down than to be kinder to yourself.

We feel good when good things happen to us, but what happens when we make a mistake? We immediately blame ourselves and feel shamed in the process. After, we look to things that can either numb our pain or give us comfort.

The Buddha once said to “hold yourself like a caring mother holds her beloved child.” Here, he was saying that being kind to yourself is the most important thing that you can do. When we can love and take better care of ourselves, we radiate that positive emotion outwards to other people.

His wisdom is true even today. Studies have shown that self-compassion makes us much happier, more optimistic, wittier, approachable, and even more creative.

In this article, I’ll show you why self-compassion is important in this day and age. I’ll also show you how you can practice being kinder to yourself today.

What does it mean to be kinder to yourself?

Being kinder to yourself means to treat yourself with compassion and love.

Rather than putting yourself down, self-compassion is about lifting yourself up and remembering that you’re perfect the way you are.

Self-compassion isn’t some new-age psychology term.

Buddha taught his followers to learn self-compassion first before they could love others. He understood that true self-compassion can make us feel more empathy towards others more naturally.

Myths about self-compassion

Before we start, let’s dispel some myths about self-compassion:

Having self-compassion is selfish

Our culture likes to show larger-than-life superheroes saving the earth from alien overlords. Rarely do we see our superheroes talk about having self-compassion for themselves.

In the same way, we’re taught that having self-compassion is selfish, and that our energy should be spent on others.

However, there’s nothing wrong with taking care of yourself first. In fact, loving and accepting yourself can end up positively impacting the people around you.

Being kinder to yourself is the best way to help others.

Self-compassion makes me weak

There’s a certain social stigma about self-compassion, as if we’re implying that we made a mistake, that we have to forgive ourselves.

Instead of acknowledging our mistake, we suppress our emotions and never give ourselves the chance to heal.

As humans, it’s okay to feel the feels. In fact, it’s more than healthy to put our emotions under a microscope and examine them more carefully.

When we become more self-compassionate, we start to become more self-aware of our strengths and weaknesses.

This can help us avoid the destructive patterns in our lives so that we can live more peacefully.

Self-compassion doesn’t exist

Many people who try being kinder to themselves often say that self-compassion doesn’t exist.

Oftentimes, most people practice self-compassion only to fall back to their normal behavior.

Like anything in life, being kinder to yourself takes practice. You have to intentionally want to be nice to yourself in order to see the benefits.

Once you start to accept yourself wholeheartedly, you will begin to see yourself in a different way.

How to be kinder to yourself

Here are some steps that you can follow to be kinder to yourself:

Be honest with how you feel

With everything that’s going on in our lives, sometimes it’s hard to be honest with how we feel. For example, we deny that we hate our jobs because we’re afraid of the alternative, so we suck up and tell ourselves, “at least we have a job!”

If you’ve denied yourself an honest conversation simply because you didn’t want to deal with the truth, it’s time that you had it.

This process can reveal a lot about yourself. You’ll learn to question your habits and see why you have them in the first place.

One of the best ways to help you navigate your feelings is to meditate. Meditation can help you objectively observe your emotions so that you can understand where they are coming from. If you want to start meditating, check out my article here.

When you can do this for yourself, you’re practicing self-compassion in that you’re learning to learn what you like and don’t like.

Life is too short to say yes to things that you don’t like.

Be kinder to yourself by acknowledging your mistakes

Here’s the little secret: we all make mistakes. That Instagram model with the perfect girl and a kick ass car? Yeah, he makes mistakes too. In fact, he probably drives his girl insane with all of the mistakes that he makes.

We live in a society that doesn’t tolerate mistakes. No wonder why we’re becoming more anxious all the time.

It’s okay to make mistakes. The world is not going to end.

As the saying goes, it’s not how you fall, but how you get back up.

The most simple way to be kinder to yourself is to laugh at the mistakes that you made. Laugh at the fact that you made this mistake again.

This is a healthy sign that you’ve accepted your own human nature, that you’re aware that every human being makes mistakes.

Be proud of yourself

If your sibling or your best friend achieves something, wouldn’t you be proud of them?

In the same way, be proud of yourself for who you are.

There is no one in the world who has your unique experience and talent. Therefore, you should be proud of the fact that you are a unique person.

If you don’t believe me, next time try asking your group of friends what they’re good at. Chances are, they’ll say that they’re good at things that your other friends can’t do. Same for you too. You have a talent and a unique voice that your friends don’t possess.

Be kinder to yourself by acknowledging that you are a special person with your own unique gifts.

Spoil yourself from time to time aka treat yo self

If you had your eyes on those new shoes for a month, don’t hesitate, just buy them. You show self-compassion when you get something that you’ve always wanted.

Most people like to hoard their money and end up wearing clothes and shoes until they have holes in them.

You can show yourself self-compassion by doing the opposite and buying something that makes you happy.

That doesn’t mean you should go splurge at the mall.

Think of your purchase as a gift to yourself for all that you’ve gone through.

Originally published at http://peekingbuddha.com on September 30, 2020.

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Writer, coffee enthusiast, tech geek, and occasional Korean cook.

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John Lim

John Lim

Writer, coffee enthusiast, tech geek, and occasional Korean cook.

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