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Spring into Self-Compassion


How do you care for yourself? Is “love” a word that fits into your vocabulary for how you feel about yourself? Or perhaps that’s a tough concept to imagine. Maybe you’re more familiar instead with the painful routine of beating yourself up. Perhaps, like many (most?) of us, you have an inner critic that can be mean, negative, or hurtful to you. This spring with new energy, fresh sunshine (hopefully!), and budding flowers perhaps it could be a good time to renew our relationship with ourselves.


I often see people in my practice who struggle to express positive or caring feelings towards oneself. This is such a common and challenging experience so many of us face. It is only in recent years that I’ve learned to love myself more fully and act more like a “best friend” to myself versus my own “frenemy”. Mostly this happens, sometimes I can still slip into being my worst critic. It’s a process. But one I feel is worth it and leads to more joy.


Years ago, I trained with Dr. Kristin Neff who is a leader in the field of self-compassion. Neff identifies three components to self-compassion: self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness. Self-kindness (versus self-judgment) is the practice of being warm, caring, and understanding towards ourselves. Common humanity (versus isolation) is about recognizing that we are not alone in our suffering and that all people suffer at times and are imperfect. Mindfulness (versus over-identification) is about paying attention, on purpose, in the present and not becoming overly reactive to our experience.


If you’d like to learn more about self-compassion or try some strategies, there are lots of free resources on Neff’s website: https://self-compassion.org/. If you’d like a “curated” list, a few of my favorites include the recording “General Self-Compassion Break” (https://self-compassion.org/self-compassion-practices/) and some of her self-reflection activities if you enjoy writing including “Exercise 1: How Would You Treat a Friend?” (https://self-compassion.org/self-compassion-practices/).


Wishing you a little (or a lot!) of compassion for yourself sometime soon😊.

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