Listen, you don’t have to take it from me. Science has shown that self-compassion is the best way to motivate yourself and create positive change in your life. You’re not going to improve your mental health by berating yourself. You’re not going to maintain any kind of lasting motivation. All of that comes from self-kindness and self-compassion. You need to be soft with yourself, and when you are it will transform the quality of your life (and relationships too).
Why self-compassion matters.
If you’ve been using your inner critic to motivate yourself, then you’ve been doing it all wrong. The best way to make serious change in our lives (or our inner self) comes through the use of self-compassion. Mastery goals aside, self-compassion also improves numerous other aspects of our lives. When we are compassionate with ourselves (rather than critical or mean) we increase our self-esteem, improve our mental health, and even create lasting change and more opportunities for ourselves.
Self-compassion is one of the greatest ways to improve our self-esteem. Your confidence is an inside out job. Someone else doesn’t have the power to give you true validation and fulfillment. That comes from within. When you choose to be self-compassionate, you choose to see a better side of yourself. You choose to believe in yourself. And all of that adds up over time to improve the way you see yourself within the context of your life, overall. You can start to see your strengths you possess through choosing self-compassion.
Boosting your relationships
Did you know that self-compassion is also one of the best ways to improve your relationships with others? Yep. The stronger your sense of self becomes, the easier it is to connect with others. Self-compassion allows us to be more authentic. And it allows us to be more compassionate with others. All of this adds up to deepen our connections and increase our trust in one another. If you want your relationships with spouses, friends, or family to be better – then you need to stary with improving the relationship you have with yourself. Self-compassion is the way forward.
Improving mental health
It probably comes as little surprise that self-compassion improves your mental health. When you are kind to yourself, it is easier to maintain your calm and your focus. However, when your self-critic takes charge, it increases stress and it can also aggravate conditions like depression and general anxiety. Your inner critic won’t make you feel better about yourself. That’s not in their wheelhouse. Your inner critic exists to keep you small and miserable – all the things you’re already used to. If you want to live a life that’s large and filled with the things that make you happy, then you have to seek to invest in self-compassion.
Creating more opportunities
Yeah, you read that right. Self-compassion creates more opportunities for you. It doesn’t matter if you want more opportunities in relationships or in your career. It all starts with feeling good about yourself. The better you feel about yourself, the more doors that open up. That’s not magic. It makes sense. Think about the last time you felt good about yourself. Really goood. How did you interact with other people, even strangers? How did you perform at work or in your relaitonships? You probably showed up. You probably had more energy. Feeling good about who we are can do powerful things.
Reinstating physical health
Because our mental health and our energy is boosted by self-compassion, our physical health very often follows suit. Being kind to yourself can go a long way in making your physical body feel better. As a matter of fact, this kind of compassionate and mindful approach has been show to help ease the aches and pains associated with depression and anxiety. More than that, self-care, self-compassion, and self-love have been shown to boost our immunological function (by decreasing the stress we experience).
How to be more compassionate with yourself.
Ready to build a more compassionate version of yourself? It’s not a pipe dream. It’s a very real way of being that you can learn how to create for yourself. First, focus on forgiving yourself for the mistakes that you’ve made. From there, you are able to find the silver lining and a deeper sense of gratitude (for who you are and where you’re at). Boost your emotional awareness, get beyond yourself, and manage your inner critic. All of this comes together to create a more compassionate version of who you are.
1. Focus on forgiving yourself
There’s a lot of talk out there about “forgiveness” when it comes to personal development and self-improvement. But too often the biggest gurus focus on telling us how to forgive others, rather than ourselves. You don’t have to forgive anyone else for the behavior and damage they chose to inflict. The only person you have to learn how to forgive is yourself. You’ve got to forgive yourself for all the mistakes and all the misteps in order to build self-compassion for yourself and the life you’re creating. There is no one on this planet that has never made a mistake. Perfection is different from person-to-person. Stop striving for it and seek only to forgive yourself instead. From there you are empowered to move forward in a more happy and authentic way.
2. Find a way to be grateful
Gratitude is transformative. It can change the way we see our lives and the way we see ourselves. When we are determined to be grateful we find silver linings that empower us to look beyond our present circumstances. Find a way to be grateful. Even in the darkest moment, when you have made the gravest of mistakes, there is a silver lining to be gleamed. Seeking that silver lining can not only increase our gratitude, but it can help us to see ourelves in softer and more compassionate ways too. Never fail to be grateful when you can be.
3. Boost emotional awareness
Emotional awareness is the key to a happier life. It’s how we learn how to control our reactions to the world, but it’s also the key to understanding others. When you realize how your emotions tick, it becomes easier to see how you reacted and behaved in challenging situations. If you’re serious about being more compassionate with yourself, then you need to center on your emotions and the roots beneath them. The way you feel is tied to your behavior with others, but it’s especially tied to the way you treat yourself. Understanding that you can see your mistakes and your patterns in a different light (and replace them with improved behaviors and beliefs instead).
4. Get beyond yourself
Altruisitc behavivors have been shown to be one of the greatest improvers of self-esteem and happiness in those suffering from depression and anxiety. When you’re feeling low, helping others can really give you the boost you need to feel good. Getting beyond yourself allows you to see yourself in an entirely different light. When you help others you can see the kind and capable person that you are. In turn, this encourages you to be softer and kinder with yourself. Find a charity in need, or a cause that close to your heart and start helping those who are less fortunate than you are. Seeing yourself in this light will transform the way you see the world in general.
5. Manage your inner critic
You’re not going to be able to exercise self-compassion unless you get your inner critic under control. This is the voice inside that rips you to shreds whenever you get something wrong. They are rude, crude, and totally self-destructive. More often than not, this voice pushes us right into the arms of self-sabotage. You must control your inner critic and replace their voice with a more encouraging one. When that voice tells you that you’re stupid or incapable – you must counter it with a louder voice who says, “I will overcome this moment and come back strong. I am capable, smart, and deserving of everything that I want!”
Putting it all together…
Be more compassionate toward yourself if you really want to be happy. You’re not going to get very far in life if you tear yourself down and let your inner critic dictate your choices. You were meant to live a life that’s bigger than that. You were meant to have happy relationships, career opportunities, and enough joy to fill your future. To make change that’s lasting and worthwhile, though, you need to cultivate a more compassionate view and understanding of who you are. And that takes conscious action every single day.
Forgive yourself for the mistakes you’ve made and the things you’ve gotten wrong in life. We all make mistakes. We’re human. We can’t have all the information all the time. Be grateful for the life that you have and the relationships that fill your life. The more gratitude you have in your heart and your mind, the easier it becomes for you to be kind to yourself. Boost your emotional awareness and build a greater understanding of your emotions and how they affect you. Emotional intelligence helps us to connect both with ourselves and others. Invest in something beyond yourself. Change your perspective by helping others. Seeing the lives of others allows to be more greatful of and compassionate toward our own. Manage your inner critic and stop letting them run the show. They will only tear down your happiness and put up walls where your joy and sense of self should be.
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