Mental Fitness Tip Twenty-One

May 15, 2022 | Blog, Mental Fitness Tips



Self-compassion is often a radically new way of relating to ourselves and can be a powerful tool for building and maintaining emotional resilience.


What is self-compassion?


Self compassion is:

– Talking to ourselves with the same kindness we give friends and loved ones.

– Ensuring our needs are met (even when we feel unworthy) and asking ourselves “What do I need right now?” and more specifically “What do I need to help alleviate my suffering?

– Identifying and acknowledging our strengths (and trusting that wherever we’re at, we always have some).

– Understanding, honouring and accepting that we are human and that ALL humans struggle, mess up, fall short and want to avoid pain and suffering.

– Practising kindness and self-forgiveness when we mess up (which we inevitably will)  instead of mercilessly judging and criticising ourselves (we cannot shame ourselves into changing).

– Realising that our shortcomings are an opportunity for growth.

– Recognising that compassion and accountability go hand-in-hand, that we can talk to ourselves as we would a loved one while still brainstorming ideas and steps to make a change and/or repair a mistake.

– Setting small, realistic goals & if we are unable to meet them, knowing it’s okay and that we’re not a failure.

– Remembering being imperfect is part of being human.


Tender VS Fierce self-compassion:


Most people think of self-compassion as soft and gentle, but it can be fierce as well as tender.


Tender self-compassion involves “being with” ourselves in an accepting way: comforting ourselves, reassuring ourselves that we aren’t alone, and being present with our pain.

Fierce self-compassion involves “acting in the world” to alleviate our suffering. It tends to involve protecting, providing for, and motivating ourselves. Sometimes we need to stand tall and say no, draw boundaries, or fight injustice. And if we’re stuck in a bad situation or habits that are harmful, it means doing something different. Not because we’re unacceptable or unworthy as we are, but because we care.


Three tangible ways you can start practicing self-compassion:


  • Kindness checks:
  1. What is something harsh that you are saying about yourself? Write that into a text on your phone.
  2. Now…would you be happy sending that to the last person you were messaging? If the answer is no then take this as a sign that it is time to start treating yourself with more kindness and compassion.
  3. Re-write the message with love and compassion and send it to yourself.


  • Self-compassion breaks:
  1. Next time you are struggling/having a hard time: pause, take a deep breath and say to yourself: “I’m a good person who is having a hard time. I can get through this” or “this feels hard because it is hard, not because I’m doing something wrong.”
  2. Next time you make a mistake: try responding to yourself with “how human of me” and notice what changes.
  3. Once a day, in general: Take a moment to think about a situation that is currently difficult for you and get in touch with it: what’s going on, what happened or what might happen, who said what, really bring the situation to life in your mind. Then put your hand over your heart and say to yourself the following three things: 1. “This is a moment of suffering” (here you’re bringing mindful awareness to the fact that suffering is present, turning towards it instead of away from it). 2. “suffering is a part of life, of being human, it is not abnormal to feel this way” (here you are reminding yourself of your common humanity). 3. “may I be kind to myself in this moment” (here you let yourself know, I’m here for you, I care about you). Then notice how your body feels and let any sensations be just as they are and allow yourself to be just as you are.


  • Learn how to start fending off that pesky inner critic with our list of compliments strategy.


Something to ponder: 


Having compassion for oneself is really no different than having compassion for others. When you feel compassion for another it means that you realize that suffering, failure, and imperfection is part of the shared human experience. Self-compassion involves acting the same way towards yourself when you are having a difficult time, fail, or notice something you don’t like about yourself. Instead of just ignoring your pain with a “stiff upper lip” mentality, you stop and turn toward it by telling yourself “this is really difficult right now, how can I comfort and care for myself in this moment?”


We all deserve self-compassion AND just like any other skill, it takes practice. So! Please keep at it because you are worthy of the same kindness you give to others.

Jess x


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