It’s easier to have compassion for a friend, but when it comes to ourselves – where’s the love? Many people tend to be harder on themselves because it’s a motivation tactic, but researchers say that it may not be a healthy strategy to achieving goals. While many of us are definitely our own worst critic; Kristin Neff, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin and the leading researcher in the growing field of self-compassion says, “Having compassion for oneself is really no different than having compassion for others.”
Befriending ourselves is the best way to regain the love we’ve been withholding for so long. Now is the time to learn how to relate to ourselves when difficult times arise just as we are able to relate and sympathize with a friend in need. Statements like “I’m so stupid”, “I look terrible”, I’m not worthy” all come from a place of disconnect with our true selves. “To know others is intelligence, to know yourself is true wisdom.” The energy of self-love and compassion needs to be present in our everyday life so that we can connect with our higher power. Often times, we tend to take the back seat in understanding the source of our pain, and instead beat ourselves up for not doing or knowing better. Christopher Germer, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist who teaches and practices mindfulness-based psychotherapy and self-compassion to alleviate emotional conflict says, “The path to self-compassion is freeing yourself from destructive thoughts and emotions.”
Accepting who we are, where we come from, what we’ve been through and knowing in our heart that we are worthy of being loved, worthy of happiness, worthy of success and peace of mind. Our past does not define who we are nor does it have the power to impose on our inner peace. Self-compassion is the way to setting ourselves free from self-inflicted burdens and forgiveness will allow us to close the relationship gap between our heart and mind.
To progress toward a more compassionate nature, Professor Neff suggests we mediate. Take five minutes out of each day to sit in silence and just breathe, but if meditation is not an area you are familiar with, it’s okay. Try reciting a statement found in The Master Key System by Charles Haanel, “I am whole, perfect, strong, powerful, loving, harmonious and happy.” Say this out loud for five minutes a day for 21 consecutive days and soon you will notice a change in the way you feel and practically every facet of your life will begin to improve.
Self-Compassion by Kristin Neff, Ph.D.
The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion by Christopher Germer, Ph.D.
The Master Key System by Charles Haanel