Strategies to Achieve Self-Compassion
BE YOUR OWN BEST FRIEND
- Talk to yourself inside your head or out loud in a calm, caring and helpful manner, just like you are your own best friend.
- If you do not feel good about yourself, focus particularly on what you need to hear to feel better and counter negative messages you give to yourself and/or receive from others.
- Recognize that only you know what you want to hear at any given moment.
- Talk with yourself in an understanding and caring manner about aspects of yourself or your life that you are not comfortable sharing with others.
- Take yourself out on dates to do the things you most enjoy in the company of someone you love (hopefully). Without any social responsibilities, you are free to focus on simply basking in the pleasures, meaning, etc. each moment brings.
- Know that you have the ability to respond more effectively to difficult situations by changing how you talk to yourself.
DEVELOP BELIEFS THAT WORK FOR YOU
- Identify your core beliefs about yourself, others or the world at large and assess how well each one is working for you.
- If a given belief is not working, visualize that there is a string between yourself and your belief and cut it.
- Replace dysfunctional beliefs with beliefs that you think will work better for you and "try them on" to see if they help you live a more effective, happier and peaceful life.
- Recognize that you always have the ability to change your beliefs even if all you can do is change your perspective on a situation you are unable to change.
- Know that it is easier to replace a belief that is not working than it is to hold onto it out of habit or fear of change.
KNOW THAT YOU ARE INHERENTLY WORTHY
- Recognize that any bad treatment you received from your parents or caretakers during your early years resulted from their own unhappiness, stress, etc. and was not a reflection of your worth in any way.
- Accept the love and support you receive from others as a gift to you and them.
- "Try on" the believe that you are inherently worthy regardless of how others have treated you, your inability to live up to the expectations you or others have for yourself or the mistakes you have made.
- Understand that it is not selfish or narcissistic to feel worthwhile and that people who feel good about themselves are less self-obsorbed and therefore are better at meeting the needs of others.
- Know you do not need to give yourself low self-worth to overcome your faults or become your best self.
- Forgive yourself for past mistakes so you can focus your energy on being the best person you can rather than beating yourself up.
- Eliminate your need to ever judge others or put them down since this undermines rather than enhances your self-worth, along with being unfair to them.
- Never compare yourself negatively to others.
DO NOT PROJECT YOUR NEEDS ONTO OTHERS
- Do not project your needs onto others because you are likely to be left feeling hurt, angry, etc. when these people do not provide you with what you are looking for.
- Recognize that you know best what you need and are much better able to provide it rather than others who have their own needs to look after.
- Develop realistic expectations in your intimate relationships and know that it is not your partner's responsibility to "make" you happy.
- Reinvest the energy you spend trying to get others to meet your needs into your own self-care.
GIVE YOURSELF THE GIFT OF HAPPINESS AND PEACE OF MIND
- Recognize that we "give" ourselves unhappiness because we mistakingly believe that we need it to make changes in our lives.
- Choose as much happiness and peace of mind as you can in any given moment.
- Know that you do not need to be unhappy to demonstrate that you are a caring person.
- Do not use your unhappiness to control others. Instead, maintain your happiness even as you assert your needs or make requests of others.
- Believe that happiness is your inherent right rather than something you have to earn.
- When you are experiencing intense emotions following a traumatic event, accept all of your feelings rather than judging them and focus on being highly self-compassionate.
- Let go of all of your expectations for life so you can enjoy it as it is rather than comparing it some preconceived ideal, which leads to disappointment.
- Understand that stress drains your energy and serves no purpose outside of highly dangerous situations.
- Recognize that it is generally a waste of time to tell others how stressed out you are because they have their own challenges to overcome.
TAKE GREAT CARE OF YOURSELF
- Follow your own bliss by prioritizing your needs and managing your time so these needs can be met.
- Learn how to relish solitude where you are free to focus on meeting your own needs rather than the needs of others.
- Plan and live out perfect days.
- Know that it is not selfish to take great care of yourself as long as you are not unfair to other people in the process
- Listen to and respond to your "inner voice" which tells you what you need to do at any given moment to meet your needs.
- Eliminate self-destructive behaviors.
- Recognize that you do not need to experience guilt or shame to live a moral life or be the best person you can be.
- Understand that you never deserve mistreatment and protect yourself by asking questions which force others to assess their unfair behavior, setting viable limits and severing toxic relationships.
TUNE INTO YOUR AUTHENTIC SELF
- Reduce or eliminate your attachment to your unwanted thoughts by recognizing that they are always changing and do not define your identity.
- Develop the ability to "tune into" your authentic self which is a permanent and deeper part of yourself that transcends your thoughts and feelings.
- Access your authentic self by looking at pictures of yourself from your childhood and connecting with the part of you that never changes.
- Become aware of when you are focused on your thoughts and when you are in the realm of your authentic self and develop the ability to select which aspect of your psyche you are in at any given moment.
- Recognize that you can remain in your authentic self most or all of the time and still lead an effective life in the outside world.
- When you are unable to solve a challenging problem through rational thought, let it go and trust that a solution will come to you when you least expect it.
ELIMINATE NEGATIVE REACTIONS
- Train yourself to respond to challenging situations effectively by detaching, "going to the balcony" and calmly deciding the best course of action.
- Recognize the visceral, physiological sensations you experience just before you have a negative reaction and make a strong commitment not to respond to them.
- Visualize a steel garage door slamming down and severing the connection between the challenging situation at hand and your emotional reaction to it.
- Recognize that no one can "make" you mad except yourself.
- Know that your choice to be calm and focused rather than emotionally reactive does not mean that you are powerless or have no options.
APPRECIATE WHAT YOU HAVE
- Recognize that we impair our happiness when we always look for something else to happen in our lives to achieve it.
- Value and savor all you have in your life and live with a sense of abundance rather than scarcity.
- Enjoy the little things in life that provide you with pleasure, comfort, satisfaction, etc.
- Prove to yourself how much control you have over your happiness by thinking about everything lacking in your life, switching your focus to everything for which you are grateful, and then noticing how this exercise changes your mood.
- Appreciate the positive aspects of your life by listing them as you breathe out.
ENJOY THE PRESENT MOMENT
- Recognize that your problems exist mainly within your mind and transcend them by focusing on the present moment.
- Switch your attention from your thoughts to what you are experiencing through your senses.
- "Lose" yourself in an activity that so fully captures your attention that you leave the realm of thought.
- Relish all the moments of your life rather than simply viewing them as opportunities to get things done.
- Develop a regular meditation practice that enables you to experience a deep sense of inner peace and fulfillment
- Surrender to what is rather than resisting it and know that this does not prevent you from taking action to create the changes you want in yourself or the world.
- Take the risk of letting go of your hyper-vigilance to prove that you do not need it to protect yourself or your loved ones from harm.
- Whenever you are caught up in worrying, ask yourself if there is something you can do about what you are worrying about. If there is, do it. If there is nothing you can do, let your worry go.
PASS YOUR COMPASSION ON TO OTHERS
- Share the happiness, peace of mind and abundance you have gained from self-compassion with others to help them be their best selves.
- Use your increased positive energy to fight for causes you believe in and, therefore, help create a better world.