How Compassion Improves Your Life
It can be challenging to have compassion for others at times — but it's often most difficult to have compassion for ourselves. A big reason is we don't see self-compassion modeled; our society doesn't look at this as a strength.
We often may feel that we won't become or remain successful if we're not hard on ourselves. While this notion may seem true, it's been debunked by research. Self-compassion is the key to developing the kind of resilience that will make us successful in the long run.
Wondering what else self-compassion can do for you? Here are a few of the benefits:
1. You'll ask for help when needed.
The kinder we are to ourselves, the more likely we are to ask for help. Getting help isn't a sign of weakness!
As I learn to be more compassionate with myself, I've noticed I seek out others all the time for assistance. It's made me a more well-rounded person because I now understand I don't have to have all the answers, and I have more information because I ask a lot more questions.
2. You'll sleep better.
A client recently told me she's been beating herself up over something she didn't know at work. It turned out to be a real learning opportunity, but instead of looking at it that way, she kept saying to herself, "I'm an idiot. I'm such a loser. Why didn't I know this?" She lost a night's sleep over it and became so stressed she couldn't give her full attention to anything after that.
Combining self-compassion with mindfulness allows us to be present with what is. We do not deny what happened — we refrain from attaching the experience to the essence of our being.
3. You'll forgive yourself faster.
It isn't easy to forgive ourselves for past transgressions, but it's a necessary step to learn from a mistake and move on. One way or another, you're going to have to show yourself kindness before the path to healing can truly begin. The sooner you can do that, the sooner you'll find your way to forgiveness.
4. You'll build your resilience.
People often try to improve their self-esteem by puffing themselves up and telling themselves that they're great. That's not as useful as self-compassion, and it's not sustainable because when we fail or have a setback, which we invariably will, we rob ourselves of resources that provide opportunities for improvement.
If we're kind to ourselves, we can deal with these setbacks and not feel like they're shattering this image of ourselves that we've built up — and we can take risks without fear of failure because we know failure does not define us.
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