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