What happens when we’re really nice to ourselves? Do we go soft? ... let ourselves get away with bad behavior? If I skip a day of homeschooling the kids to throw a family ice cream party, will they wind up failing school?
Self-compassion is an extension of warmth towards ourselves in a time of difficulty. To show ourselves compassion at any time—but especially when the world is in turmoil—is one of the most powerful life skills we can develop. As we banish our own ruthless inner critic, we begin to welcome ourselves unconditionally and meet whatever arises. Studies link self-compassion with:
- Greater coping abilities
- Lower levels of anxiety
- Decreased stress levels
Sign me up, you’re thinking. But how?
For folks who’d like to develop greater self-compassion, Stephanie recommends the work of widely recognized authority on the topic, Dr. Kristen Neff. Neff breaks down compassion into three components:
- First, recognize that you are suffering. Take a moment to breathe.
- Feeling connected to others is vital to survival and has been proven to ease suffering. Instead of wondering “why me?” or thinking your experience is singular, try framing your experience in a common way.
- In order to face suffering skillfully, we must first be aware of it. There is no need to fix it immediately—just notice it and observe.
Self-compassion does not erase our problems, alas. Rather, it helps us see what’s arising and face it with a distinctive sense of ease. We soon learn to meet ourselves with gentleness and a warm embrace, finding peace in our own daily experience.
Want to find your self-compassion? Join Stephanie Lopez for this free iRest sangha session>