Self-Kindness & Compassion
In talking about the importance of kindness, it’s easy to forget that a key part begins with being kind to yourself. How many times have you berated yourself over something you said or maybe what you didn’t say? Wouldn’t you like to take centre stage in your own life without your Inner Critic (that harsh negative judgmental inner voice) hogging the spotlight?
One step that you can do is to start practising self-kindness. Having real compassion means that you treat yourself the same way as you would a friend who was suffering.
Here are three fundamental elements of building compassion and learning self-kindness.
1. Letting go of self-judgment
Listen to your self-talk for a moment. How are you feeling about the whole idea of self-kindness? Many people have a negative mixtape inside their heads that is full of judgment and self-criticism aimed at themselves. A negative loop that uses words they would never dream of saying to other people.
Developing self-compassion means letting go of perfectionism. It means being okay with making mistakes and even embracing failure.
Self-kindness acknowledges that life is full of ups and downs and that going through hard times isn’t necessarily someone’s fault. By accepting the reality of life and letting go of self-judgment, you will find calm and understanding.
2. Accepting that it’s not just you
One of the worst aspects of going through a tough time is feeling that you’re alone in your suffering. Be kind to yourself and acknowledge that being human means being imperfect and vulnerable. Bad times come and bad times go, and you’ll make it through. It happens to everyone because it’s part of being human.
So, take a deep breath, take a step back, and treat yourself gently until the storm has passed.
3. Emotional Relief and Release
It can be tempting to fall into negativity when things don’t go your way. But try taking a mindful approach that acknowledges your feelings but doesn’t over-identify with them. Becoming stuck in your unhappiness or beating yourself up is unhelpful and the only person who truly suffers is you.
Mindfulness means taking a step back and observing what is happening without getting caught up in the emotions, or at the other end of the scale, trying to suppress or deny what you’re feeling.
Emotional Release Techniques
Name the emotion - I feel shame
Tune in to the body and notice where you feel that emotion. Do your shoulders feel tight, sensations in your stomach. Remember it is just a chemical reaction, your emotions, however uncomfortable, can not hurt you.
Sit with and lean into the feeling, it might feel like waves coming and going
Practising being mindful on a daily basis, allows the negative emotions to come and go through you without causing deep distractions. However, there are days when it all builds up or something happens that triggers us and brings up big negative emotions. So…
If you feel like crying, then have a good cry. Crying is incredibly therapeutic and is a natural way to release emotions.
Journal - write it all down and get it out of your head. The brain loves to solve problems and questions to ask - what has happened, how do I feel, what do I need right now
Phone an energy radiator friend, the one who listens with no judgement.
Emotional Relief Techniques
After a big emotional release, offer yourself some emotional relief. A good question to ask yourself, if your child was feeling big emotions and feeling sad, what would you do to make them feel better? What self-care can you do for yourself?
Cuddle up on the sofa with your favourite blanket
Movements such as stretching, yoga and dancing
Walk-in nature (mobile phone off) is one of the best things you can do to nourish and reset your brain
Watch your favourite funny film
Phone a friend who always makes you laugh
EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques)
Hot bath - this releases serotonin the happy chemical in the brain
Jo Fiddy is a Self Love and Confidence Coach and Founder of Rise and Vibe with Jo