Showing compassion and care for yourself is an important part of maintaining both mental and physical health. While basic, responsible self-care should always be a main priority, self-compassion is also a piece of the puzzle.
While self-care is the act of performing the necessary steps to take care of your needs as a person, self-compassion is the act of loving, accepting and understanding yourself like you would a friend. Practicing self-compassion can be a part of self-care, but it can also be part of your personal support structure that encourages you to continue caring for yourself as much as possible.
Self-care and self-compassion work together. If you feel compassion for yourself, you’ll be more likely to engage in those activities of self-care that are so important for your well being, which you deserve to do.
It’s easy to convince yourself that you don’t need or deserve self-compassion, but even devoting a few minutes a day to showing love to yourself can improve your quality of life in real ways. You can start by implementing one — or even a few — simple practices.
1. Talk to Yourself Like You’d Talk to a Friend
The basic foundation of self-compassion is to speak to yourself like you’d speak to a friend, so it’s a great idea to take that a step further by being intentional about saying things to yourself every day that embody friendly encouragement.
Allow yourself grace and kindness when you are struggling, and congratulate yourself on accomplishments that you’re proud of. It might just put you in a better mood.
2. Remind Yourself You Don’t Need to Be Perfect
Often, we expect perfection from ourselves in our work, our relationships, our friendships and our personal projects. An important practice of self-compassion is remembering if you wouldn’t expect perfection from someone else, you don’t need to expect it from yourself.
Setting goals and aiming high is admirable, but nobody is perfect, and you don’t need to expect yourself to be.
3. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness is all about focusing your attention and energy on the present moment. Practicing mindfulness can help center you in your current thoughts and tasks, allowing you to direct your attention wherever you decide it would best serve you.
Mindfulness is a space free of self-judgement or criticism, as it allows you to focus on things as they are. This can help you practice self-compassion by allowing you to focus on your chosen tasks and devote your time and energy fully to what is serving you.
Meditation is a way to practice self-compassion through caring for your mental and spiritual well being. Since meditation can focus on a variety of exercises, it is a zone free of judgement or distraction.
Meditation can take as little as three minutes of your time, though you can devote more time to it if you find it’s something you enjoy. People often report feeling more positive and relaxed after engaging in a meditation practice.
5. Complement Yourself
One easy and fun way to show compassion and kindness to yourself is giving yourself at least one complement each day. You can make this a part of your routine by writing it down each morning, or saying it as an affirmation throughout your day.
Just like you believe in uplifting your friends, you can consciously choose to uplift yourself as a part of your quest to show yourself-compassion. This practice doesn’t take very long, but it can help with self-esteem and happiness.
Self-compassion can work in your life in both big and small ways. It can help you have a more positive attitude and self-image, and it can help motivate you to engage in self-care more regularly and intentionally. Self-compassion is all about knowing that you deserve to be treated with kindness, respect and care. Giving that to yourself is a powerful and beautiful thing.