Self-compassion can be practiced by nourishing your own happiness, allowing yourself to experiment as a therapist (rather than having all the answers), taking good care of your physical and emotional health, and setting aside some time each day to send yourself love and compassion—even if it's just a few words.
Above all, keep in mind that you are worth loving and caring for, just like everyone else. As therapist Kelly McGonigal says, "If you treat yourself with kindness and understanding, it will spread to others."
Start by looking within. Meditate on or think about what you appreciate about yourself, such as your courage or creativity, and let those positive feelings help guide you in treating yourself with kindness and understanding.
Next, make sure your physical needs are being met. Do you have enough food to eat? A safe place to sleep? If not, work toward fixing these issues by seeking out help when you need it. And finally, take time every day to love yourself just as you are. Whether you choose to write down things you appreciate about yourself or not, simply taking a few minutes every day to look in the mirror or say something kind to yourself will help you feel better about yourself and give you something worthwhile to focus on.
The five suggestions below will help you start practicing self-compassion and stop being so hard on yourself:
Five Techniques for Self-Compassion
Four strategies for increasing self-compassion
8 Simple Ways to Develop Compassion
Self-compassion is dependent on being honest and direct with ourselves about our vulnerability. Compassion blossoms fully when we actively provide self-care. I frequently teach mindfulness and compassion through a meditation I call the RAIN of Self-Compassion to assist people deal with emotions of insecurity and unworthiness. During this meditation, you focus on your feelings and simply acknowledge them without engaging or reacting to them.
Here are some other ways to be more compassionate and mindful of others:
Show kindness to yourself by taking time out for yourself each day. Spend some time doing something that makes you feel good about yourself - whether it's taking a walk, calling a friend, reading a book, or going to see a movie.
Look after others by giving them your attention and loving kindness. If someone is struggling with an issue that you can help them understand, don't keep your knowledge to yourself. Offer your support and understanding.
Learn from others by listening carefully and paying attention. When you listen carefully, you're able to pick up on what others are saying and how they're feeling. This allows you to respond appropriately and give comfort when needed.
Help others by doing things that you enjoy. Whether it's volunteering at a homeless shelter or spending time with friends, finding ways to give back and make others feel appreciated is highly rewarding.