If you’re ruled by your inner critic, listening to a narrative that constantly puts you down, it’s time to stop beating up on yourself. Mindful self compassion meditation can help us to be kinder to ourselves, to recover from failure and dial down the volume of that inner sniper. Here’s why you really need self compassion mindfulness.
If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” Dalai Lama
Your inner critic will lie to you. It will tell you that you’re an imposter, a fraud, a failure. It’s vicious and will leave you feeling drained, ground down. When we live life in constant competition with ourselves and others our self esteem can take a battering.
We’re left feeling victimised, not good enough, always on the back foot or needing to exaggerate our lives on social media platforms. That pressure only serves to feed into our self judgement and shame. The good news? it’s a cycle that we can break.
Research has demonstrated that self compassion has consistently found to be related to wellbeing and resilience. It probably doesn’t come as any surprise that when we’re kinder to ourselves, life is a little bit easier.
There are many benefits of self compassion. Regular practice has been linked to a plethora of life enhancing outcomes;
- Increased resilience
- Reduction of self judgement
- Less reactive behaviour
- Reduced narcissism
- Decreased self comparision
- Reduction of self limiting beliefs
- Less anxiety
- More happiness
We’re so caught up in comparing, competing and stretching ourselves to be everything to everyone that self compassion can feel like an extreme paradigm shift. So now you know why you (really) need self compassion mindfulness, how do you make that shift?
Mindful Self Compassion, What is it?
Kristin Neff, one of the world’s leading compassion researchers, describes how self-compassion involves three core components:
- Self-kindness vs. self-judgment.
- Mindfulness vs. over-identification with thoughts.
- Common humanity vs. isolation.
By developing our inner kindness we can begin to reduce those critical thoughts. Self compassion will help us to manage life’s curve balls without blaming ourselves.
Instead, we can generate positive emotions and accept that sometimes, life sucks without apportioning blame or beating up on ourselves. The truth is, we’re not perfect, we never will be. We’re all a work in progress and that’s ok.
When you first begin practicing mindful self compassion meditation consider your intention. Why are you practising? Do you want to be kinder to yourself? Would you like to be more resilient? To dial down the volume on your inner critic? Each time you practice, hold your intention in your mind before you begin.
Self Compassion Examples
Here are 5 self compassion exercises that you can use to build kindness into your everyday routine.
- When things get tough, take a self compassion break
- Keep a journal focusing on the areas that you’re struggling with. Reflect on your journal entry with love and compassion. Imagine that you are responding kindly to a beloved friend with your reflections.
- Monitor your self talk. When you hear your inner critic, talk back to it with kindness. Use phrases like “I don’t need to be perfect.” “Failing is part of being human.”
- Reframe your perception of failing as an opportunity to learn, grow and improve.
- Limit the time that you spend on social media. Use that time for self care instead.
Sometimes people find that when they first begin practising self compassion all of those things that they were feeling bad about, perversely, begin to feel worse. This is known as ‘backdraft.’ When we shine a light on the things that we’ve buried, old wounds, judgements or past pain, we notice what’s there, it becomes amplified.
If you’re practising mindful self compassion and you begin to feel overwhelmed, it’s ok to pause and stop the practice. Allow yourself to do whatever it takes to reduce those feelings for the time being. Take a self compassion break, listen to music, focus on your breath or enjoy going outside into the fresh air, noticing nature. By doing this you’ll be practising self compassion and laying the ground work for future compassion to grow. And that’s why you (really) need self compassion mindfulness.
Want to know more about self compassion? We work with individuals, healthcare professionals and Fortune 500 companies to develop compassionate organisations. We offer mindful coaching in compassion and compassion training for business. Get in touch, we’d love to hear from you.