Life can be very painful. Some days are hard that you wish you could never get out of bed. Although there is no magical way to remove all the pain and suffering from your life, you can lessen your worries. One may ask how? This is by showing yourself compassion. When you approach yourself with compassion, you show that you care about yourself just as you would do to a friend or relative struggling. You can tell yourself in a caring tone you know how hard things are for you. By responding to your pain in this way rather than being engulfed by it, you can help ease distress.
For some, self-compassion may be a foreign concept. This is especially true for those who are raised in abusive homes, where there is no compassion. According to Buddhist psychology, self-compassion refers to a way of relating to the self with kindness. It should not be confused with arrogance or conceit, which usually indicates a lack of self-love.
Kristin Neff, a noted self-compassion researcher describes important elements that can help build self-compassion.
1. Attend to your suffering
Trying to ignore or deny pain is normal. However, ignoring the pain does not make it go away. You must be willing to deal with your pain to heal. You can begin by thinking about situations that bring pain and open yourself to that experience.
2. Consciously note that you are suffering.
Emotional pain tends to make you feel like the pain is permanent. During this period, it is important to remind yourself that it is just a passing phase you’re experiencing. According to Neff, we should be mindful of the situation we are in and embrace it. Acknowledge that you are in pain, rather than pushing it away.
3. Accept that suffering is something that all people experience.
It is not uncommon to find people feeling singled out during hardships, leading them to feel alone, flawed, or punished simply for being themselves. Once you’re able to accept that suffering and pain is something that every individual goes through, you’re likely to feel less alone and motivated to deal with the pain.
4. Bring compassion to yourself with physical touch and well wishes.
Gently place your hands over your heart and feel their warmth on your chest. Find a comforting phrase as you do this and repeat the same to yourself. An example being “may I learn to accept myself as I am”.
Life can be unpredictable. There are days that seem great, with you feeling very good about yourself. Other days, you might feel like everything is against you, making you feel lower than you should. Understand that all these events and emotions are part of everyone’s life, and you should learn how to deal with them.
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