Learning to be Kind to Yourself has Remarkable Benefits, According to Science
Everyone, regardless of who they are, needs a bit of support and compassion from time-to-time. Everyone. This can be difficult, as we are our own biggest critics. Sometimes this can be useful, when pushing to get a job done or assessing a difficult situation.
The bad thing is, most of us do this to ourselves on a daily basis, over the most trivial of things. Regularly knocking ourselves down can be just as, if not more taxing on our self-esteem.
Do you found it harder to feel compassion toward yourself than the stranger sitting next to you?” … to others?
A wealth of research has shown the positive consequences of self-compassion on numerous aspects of our well-being, including a greater life satisfaction, emotional intelligence, interconnectedness with others, wisdom, curiosity, happiness and optimism. Self-compassion is also associated with less self-criticism, depression, anxiety, fear of failure, and perfectionism (Neff, 2009).
I am delighted to share with you how I began to start unraveling some of that negative thinking and while working towards finding compassion (one of the necessary elements of mindful acceptance) for myself and others.
- Grab a notebook. Recall an event in which a friend, co-worker, or someone else was having a difficult time. It could have been a divorce, the loss of a job… any event that compelled you to try and be understanding and kind with the person.
- After recording this event, write down the different thoughts, feelings and your reaction to them.
- Now imagine you’re in that same situation. Honestly decide what sort of self-talk you’d be inclined to engage in. Was there a difference between how you’d react to your friend and to yourself?
- If your answers about how you’d handle this situation were on the non-supportive and even judgmental side, think about why you felt these things. There aren’t any right or wrong answers. Just be sure to write them down. Was there fear attached? Disgust? Disappointment?
- Now imagine that you handle it differently if you would be inclined to be hard on yourself. How would everything begin to take shape if you treated yourself with more compassion and less judgment?
- Continue to think about this over the coming week and anytime a negative thought about yourself comes up, try to observe objectively. Are you actually mean because you told your child he couldn’t have that second slice of cake? Were you unreasonable in expecting that a direct report finish a time-sensitive project before heading home? We judge ourselves so much more than we think, and it can undermine our ability to thrive, enjoy and succeed in life.
Progress not perfection!!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Devin C. Hughes is a highly sought after international speaker, author, diversity & inclusion muse, mindfulness trainer & leadership coach who works with a variety of leaders, groups, organizations, and teams who have a desire to break down enterprise-wide cultural barriers, improve personal/organizational performance and enhance communication through greater self awareness and understanding of one another. He is the author of 17 books and his approach draws from the science of positive psychology, positive organizational research, appreciative inquiry, neuroscience, mindset and mindfulness.