If you're at all like many of my clients, you might have no clear idea of what self-compassion is or how it works.
In recovery, self-compassion is a useful concept, because it can help you let go of self-criticism and negative self-talk, and cultivate joy and kindness instead.
The idea is that once we're more patient and understanding with ourselves, we can overcome negative emotions more easily and appreciate that we're deserving of good things in our lives, just like everyone else.
If you'd like to find out how that might be possible, here are my six tips to help you move from self-criticism to self-compassion:
Embrace the idea of the beginner's mind.
The "beginner's mind" is the Zen Buddhist idea of an attitude that allows for learning and growth, no matter how experienced you are. A beginner's mind is open to trying new things and to new approaches, a prerequisite if one is serious about changing thoughts and habits.
Start noticing self-talk.
When you talk to yourself, what do you say? Is your voice self-critical or understanding? What do you notice?
Pay attention to when you are nice to yourself.
What's different when you talk to yourself nicely - how come? What would it take to say nice things to yourself more often?
Remember this practice is new to you.
When you feel like you're still not nice enough to yourself, remember that you're only just starting out with this practice. We're looking for progress, not for perfection, and any one time you were able to say: "This is hard, you're making a really good effort!" instead of something less understanding and kind is a win. <3
Make joy a priority.
Marie Kondo the shit out of your life and understand that joy does not come from amassing material goods, but instead from cherishing meaning. What in your life has meaning? How can you prioritize joy, starting today?