Self – Compassion

We feel compassion for others when we feel moved by their suffering and want to provide warmth, caring, or help in some way. When you feel compassion for another, it means that you realize that suffering, failure, and imperfection is part of the shared human experience.

Self-compassion is giving to ourselves the same kindness, lack of judgment and care we’d give to a good friend. Instead of mercilessly judging and criticizing ourselves for various inadequacies or shortcomings, self-compassion means you are kind and understanding when confronted with personal failings – after all, who ever said you were supposed to be perfect?

Recognizing that self-compassion is necessary when you are going through a divorce or or the first few years post-divorce. Instead of just ignoring your pain with a “stiff upper lip” mentality, you stop to tell yourself “this is really difficult right now,” how can I comfort and care for myself in this moment?

Some might assume that self-compassion will lower your standards, motivation or productivity. Instead, research shows that self-compassion is linked with greater motivation, less procrastination and better relationships. These findings suggest that, somewhat paradoxically, taking an accepting approach to personal failure may make you more motivated to improve yourself.

Recognizing that you are human and human beings are not machines, we have emotions, feelings, and past wounds which lead to behaviors we might want to change. The important part is what you do when you act badly…do you berate yourself, call yourself names, punish yourself, ruminate on the situation over and over? If that is the case, a dose of self-compassion could be very helpful to you.

Self-compassion can also reduce procrastination. Many of us procrastinate because we want everything we do to be perfect and the idea of trying to achieve perfection makes us put it off due to the stress of how to do it perfectly. If we can find self-compassion and remind ourselves that we are going to do the best job we can at this moment and with the time we have to do it. We might start projects or tasks instead of procrastinating because you are not ready for it to be done perfectly.

With few exceptions, self-compassion is positively associated with secure attachment, adaptive parenting behaviors, healthy romantic and friendship functioning, and constructive conflict repair behavior. In families, evidence suggests that parent self-compassion is linked to supportive parenting behavior, which is in turn linked to higher levels of child self-compassion.

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