Now that you know what self-compassion is, how do you develop self-compassion?
There is no right or wrong way to develop the practice of self-compassion, no is there a universally agreed definition of what self-compassion is. What’s important to remember in developing self compassion is to start slowly in a step-by-step approach. We start with one element and once we feel we have that down pat we then build upon it, developing our self compassion skills over time.
Below is a starting point on how to develop self-compassion. This first step encourages us too consciously notice our own pain mindfully, with openness and curiosity.
Acceptance and commitment therapy: Phrases for Self-Compassion
Acknowledging Pain and Kindness
Potentially the simplest and quickest exercises involve simply these two elements:
- Acknowledge with kindness in your words: “This is really painful” or “This is really difficult” or “I’m noticing sadness or “I’m having a feeling of shame” or “This is a moment of suffering” (or some other expression that you are comfortable with that nonjudgmentally acknowledges the presence of pain).
- Say something that facilitates kindness to yourself:
“Go easy on yourself”, “Be kind to yourself”, “May I treat myself kindly”, or a single word, such as “Gentle” or “Kindness”.
This approach this approach encourages us to make space and acknowledge painful thoughts feelings and emotions. It is quite different from what many of us do in turning away from our pain trying to suppress it, deny it, escape it, distract from it, or avoid it.
Adapted from How to Develop Self-Compassion in just about anyone by Dr Russ Harris.
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