Love yourself! Self Compassion is The Key to Unlocking Self Potentials
You might be struggling to unlock your potentials, to fulfill them, and therefore to experience happiness in your life. When digged more deeply within yourself, one of the primary causes can be self-hatred. Sound impossible may be, but it is the fact, at least that’s what I have learned from many cases shared with me. You may not realize that the way you think and talk about yourself demonstrate self-hatred.
Thus, how can you expect to unlock your potentials if you do not even get along well with yourself? Surely, what you think about yourself drives your behaviour towards yourself and determine the way you treat yourself as well. Being too hard on yourself is one example.
As Dr. Kristin Neff says in her book, Self Compassion : “If you are continually judging and criticizing yourself while trying to be kind to others, you are drawing artificial boundaries and distinctions that only lead to feelings of separation and isolation.”
So, it is clear why you cannot feel happy, isn’t it? Self-hatred makes you look at the world through distorted filter, nothing seems to be right.
Be kind to yourself by identifying what causes you to beat yourself up, how it affects your life negatively, and what you can do to relate to yourself in healthier and more compassionate ways.
Right now, you might be beating yourself up over something stupid you did. Even if you aren’t, it’s still hard not to get angry at yourself for even the smallest mistakes. And we all set standards for ourselves that are too high, fall short, and just get more frustrated that we “can’t do anything right.”
The source of your self-criticism is most likely going through traumatic experiences when you were a child. Research indicates that the chances of beating yourself up skyrocket if you had a parent that was critical to you as a child.
If you had critical parents that were hard on everything you did, right or wrong, it would add up after a while.
Eventually, you’d develop an unhealthy view of yourself as not being worth loving. You would feel like you had to be better, perfect, even, or you couldn’t be loved. Of course, you would want to avoid them criticizing you, so you’d likely begin doing it yourself before they could.
Before long you’ve internalized all of this and it’s simply a habit to be hard on yourself for even the smallest slip-up.
You can start practicing Self Compassion by thinking about how you would help a friend in the same position.
1. Create a psychological distance between yourself and your pain and practice mindfulness to become a master at taking care of yourself.
2. Shut down the logical thinking that looks to the reasons for the error and instead focus on just feeling. What does it feel like when you mess up? Let yourself go through the emotions, just like you would for a friend whose dog had just died.
3. It starts with asking a question to gain an awareness of the pain you’re feeling. You might ask yourself how you feel after something terrible, for example, instead of trying to fix it.
4. You may show compassion to others by hugging, like in the case of a friend that lost a loved one. Even this, although it seems strange, is something you can do to yourself to feel better.
Mindfulness combined with the ability to put psychological distance between you and your pain will make you a master at self-care.
1. When you begin comforting yourself for something that’s amiss, you’re actually taking on two separate roles. You’re both the giver and the receiver of the comfort. It can work if the piece of you that’s playing the giver becomes separate from the one that’s experiencing the pain. Otherwise, you can’t help to relieve the pain. In other words, develop sympathy for yourself just like for your friend who is suffering.
2. This is what it means to put psychological space between you and whatever you’re upset about. It lets you accept that you are suffering, but it doesn’t define you. It’s not everything. There is more to life than just pain.
3. Another way to get that space is through mindfulness. This means not letting yourself get sucked into the emotions, but just letting them run their course. Think of it like taking a mental step away from how you feel and just watching from the sidelines.
4. You can still experience the frustration or disappointment, but just watch it play out instead of grasping it with a mental grip that makes it feel catastrophic.
Once you are able to develop a more compassionate and kinder relationship with yourself, you will start seeing the world differently. You will start realizing what you are capable of doing. You will start seeing more opportunities coming your way. Finally, you will start experiencing happiness within yourself.
Adapted from “Self Compassion” by Dr. Kristin Neff