Self-Love Starts with Self-Compassion: 6 Ways that We Can Begin to Practice Self-Compassion Everyday
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It is wonderful that today’s culture is so embracing of self-love. There are many conversations occurring at the societal level surrounding self-care, self-love, and mental health. The reality is that we won’t love ourselves every day that we are here. There are going to be days where we don’t like the person standing in front of us in the mirror. There are going to be times when we mess up. And when this happens, our inner critic can become especially loud. Our inner critic is the voice in our head that constantly criticizes, judges, and even shames us. Often, our inner critic takes on the voice of a caretaker that we had. On those days, it might be especially hard to get in touch with our self-love. It can truly be difficult to learn how to love ourselves when we were raised to believe that we had to earn love in our families through our actions and achievements. And it can be especially challenging for members of BIPOC communities to get in touch with self-love when different stereotypes and oppression are reinforced by systems at large. For many of us, the first step towards practicing self-love will be through self-compassion.
Practicing self-compassion isn’t always about being kind to yourself in the present moment. It is also about being kind to past versions of yourself. Being kind to the younger version of yourself who didn’t know any better. The younger version of yourself that might have made the best decision that you could have in that moment in time with the circumstances you were under. Our past, present, and future selves are all equally deserving of our loving compassion. So how can we begin to practice more compassion towards ourselves?
Be mindful of your inner self-talk
Ask yourself if you would speak to a small child or a loved one in that way?
Eat nourishing food, stay hydrated, and incorporate healthy movement into your day
As you are engaging in nourishing acts for your body, intentionally say to yourself things like “I am doing this so that I can keep my body healthy and wise.”
Practice more patience with yourself, even if you get something wrong
Patience truly is a virtue and can be especially hard to practice when we have high expectations of ourselves. But you more than anyone else are especially deserving of your own patience. It’s okay to get it wrong sometimes. It’s also okay to not have all the answers.
Give yourself credit for simply showing up
There will be some days where you won’t want to get out of bed and feel unmotivated to check off everything on your to-do list. Sometimes simply just showing up is something to be especially proud of.
Acknowledging and accepting that it’s ok if your best looks different on some days.
For those of us that have high expectations of ourselves, this one can be especially hard to sit with. The reality is our best is not going to look the same every day. The past two years have especially highlighted that for us. Sometimes giving our best is just showing up. And that’s ok. Your mental, emotional, and spiritual bandwidth will fluctuate. That is a normal part of life.
Be intentional with your acts of self-compassion
Because you deserve as much as anyone else to be treated with loving kindness.