Studies are confirming what has long been taught in Buddhism and other traditions. Developing more compassion for yourself will make you happier and more successful at reaching your goals. Whatever your spiritual beliefs, there are lots of benefits of self-compassion and ways to make it a healthy practice for life. Now, before you start worrying that being a little kinder to yourself will zap your motivation, here are a few benefits of having more self-compassion. See which ideas resonate the most.
Benefits of Having Compassion for Yourself
- Experience greater happiness. Self-compassion means valuing yourself and treating yourself well. You’re bound to feel better when you remove negative self-talk and become a better friend to yourself. This can be especially hard when you’re healing from betrayal and shattered trust. You’ve already been blindsided and may be trying to move through the most painful experience of your life. Giving yourself a little compassion isn’t just helpful, it’s crucial.
- Accomplish your goals more easily. There’s no need to criticize yourself to eliminate bad habits. What you may be viewing as flaws may simply be what makes you different. Or, if certain negative habits are holding you back, find ways to change while focusing on action plans that gently move you forward. If you break a promise to yourself, learn from it and start again. If you can’t seem to fit in that workout, see what you can delegate to create more time. If you keep ruminating over your unhealed betrayal, get the support you need to get unstuck. If you’re denied one job opening, change your resume so you’re ready for the next opening.
- Become more resilient. Accept that life is full of ups and downs; take them in stride instead of being derailed by them. You’ll bounce back faster when you realize that challenges and setbacks are as inevitable as rainy days. It’s all about finding healthy ways to move through them.
- Feel more motivated. When you learn to be more compassionate with yourself, you’ll feel more committed to making investments in your future. Giving yourself the freedom to make mistakes reduces the anxiety that holds you back from trying new things. Every mistake brings you one step closer to finding the route that’s best for you.
- Feel more connected with others. The philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer suggested that we call each other “my fellow sufferer.” When we realize that we all want to be happy but we often need to become more skillful at creating happiness, we recognize how much we have in common with everyone around us. Personally, I prefer a more hopeful spin and choose, “my fellow thriver.”
- Express more compassion towards others. If you’re gentle with yourself, you’re more apt to carry that mindset into your interactions with loved ones and strangers. You’ll be mindful of the challenges we all face and have a stronger desire to help others.
Six Strategies For Developing More Compassion for Yourself
- Do some myth-busting about self-compassion. You may associate being gentle with being lazy. But with compassion, you’re channeling your time and energy into constructive activities rather than beating up on yourself (which doesn’t do anything to move you forward and is a complete waste of your time and energy.)
- Take charge of your emotions. Accepting disappointments or derailments as part of life enables you to remain at peace. You can accept your true feelings without letting them overwhelm you. When they do overwhelm you, get the support you need to move through them. You can also look at them as necessary steps needed to put you on track for your next, best step.
- Change your self-talk. We often say things to ourselves that we’d never dare say to anyone else. Focus on giving yourself kind and useful suggestions rather than berating yourself or calling yourself names.
- Relax. Create an environment where you can generate compassion. Reduce stress and transition into a better frame of mind with meditation, journaling, soft music, getting out in nature, or whatever reduces your stress.
- Treat yourself nicely. Just like you bring a meal over to a sick friend, look for ways to be your own best friend. Brew a cup of your favorite tea, take some much needed downtime or ask yourself what you need when you’re feeling frazzled or overwhelmed.
- Surround yourself with positive role models. If you feel like you’ve been conditioned to be negative, judgmental and critical with yourself as the only way to get results, you may need to surround yourself with reminders to stay on your new path. Observe people who demonstrate compassion and self-compassion and learn from them. Read books or take a workshop on compassion.
It’s easier to overcome difficult situations when you learn to cherish and comfort yourself. Practicing self-compassion will bring you greater peace of mind, joy and greater health too.
Founder and CEO, The PBT (Post Betrayal Transformation) Institute