By Susanne Michaud, DPT, OCS

The practice of self-compassion is paramount in the healing and recovery process. Practicing self-compassion towards one’s negative self-emotions leads to a softer, kinder motivation that improves the brain and body’s ability to learn and change.1 Evidence for this is found in the research of psychologist and founder of the self-compassion movement, Kristen D. Neff. In her work she discovered that “self-compassion involves the desire for the self’s health and well-being, and is associated with greater personal initiative to make needed changes in one’s life.”2

Self-compassion practice entails the following:

  • Self kindness

Part of the human experience involves suffering, disappointment, heartache, embarrassment, and failure.  However, practicing self-kindness during these trying times can soothe the experience through gentleness and forgiveness, rather than anger and self-criticism. 

  • A sense of your common humanity

Recognizing that you are not alone in your experience can also generate greater resilience during times of hardship.  Knowing that you are a part of a common humanity can help to reduce feelings of aloneness or isolation.

  • Mindfulness

Using an observational and nonjudgmental approach to one’s thoughts and feelings in the present moment allows us to stay conscious, attuned, and connected to the experience.

Self-compassion embraces feeling the rainbow of human emotions, acknowledging and honoring them versus squelching, avoiding, or ruminating on them. By doing so, we deepen and strengthen our sense of well-being and ease in our lives.

If you’d like to deepen your self-compassion, here are two links to tools and meditations to get you closer to your true self.

www.self-compassion.org/test-how-self-compassionate-you-are/

www.self-compassion.org/category/exercises/

May the love in your heart find YOU this Valentines day.

 

1 Moore, M., Jackson, E., Taschannen-Moran, B.  Coaching Psychology Manual. 2nd edition. Wolters Kluwer, 2016. p 57.
2 Neff, Kristen D. “The Role of Self-Compassion in Development: A Healthier Way to Relate to Oneself”.  Human Development 2009;52: 211-214.