Sand Mandala at Playa Uvita - Photo by Michael Fernandez

Self Compassion: A Different Approach to Self Care

We often admire people who act compassionately to others. But have you thought about having compassion for yourself? We are suddenly living in more complicated times, between all that is happening in the world and the normal changes life brings we are feeling chaos, change and uncertainty. When things go wrong or get heavy it is really easy to be self-critical, have harsh judgments for your choices or actions. In general, beat yourself up. But what if you treated yourself as you would if you saw a good friend in the situation?  

Psychology research continues to look at contemplative practices in the mind and how we deal with the self. To have self-compassion is to treat yourself as you would a loved one in the same situation, to be kind, to withhold harsh judgments. Rather than harshly judging oneself for personal shortcomings, the self is offered warmth and unconditional acceptance. In other words, being kind to ourselves in good times and bad, in sickness and in health — and even when we make mistakes.

Sand Mandala at Playa Uvita – Photo by Michael Fernandez

Self-compassion is empathetic whereas self-care can become narcissistic. Having self-compassion means being able to recognize the difference between making a bad decision and being a bad person. When you have self-compassion, you understand that your worth is unconditional.  The benefits of going easy on yourself include having less anxiety, less conflict, and more peace of mind. So the next time after something goes wrong, sit down, take a few deep breaths, have a cup of tea and talk to yourself gently about the situation.

Discover your love languages and then practice them on yourself.

When Teresa of Avila was asked what she did in prayer, she replied, “I just allow myself to be loved.” – Anthony de Mello

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