It probably comes as no surprise to anyone that a therapist will encourage you to seek Self-Compassion. After all, if you can’t love yourself it becomes terribly difficult for others to love you as well. Please note that we said difficult, not impossible. We also anticipate that you might discount our advice for self-compassion as being too easy, too much of a way out, Far from it in fact. In order to convince you that Self-Compassion is a good idea, we are including some quotes for you to consider before you read our 7 ways to show yourself self-compassion.
“Loving yourself…does not mean being self-absorbed or narcissistic, or disregarding others. Rather it means welcoming yourself as the most honored guest in your own heart, a guest worthy of respect, a lovable companion”.- Margo Anand
“Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.” Malcolm S. Forbes
“Never bend your head. Always hold it high. Look the world straight in the face.” Helen Keller
“I had to grow to love my body. I did not have a good self-image at first. Finally, it occurred to me, I’m either going to love me or hate me. And I chose to love myself. Then everything kind of sprung from there. Things that I thought weren’t attractive became sexy. Confidence makes you sexy.” Queen Latifah
7 Ways to Show Yourself Self-Compassion
1. When you make a mistake (and you will make a mistake because it is natural and human to make mistakes) resist the urge to beat yourself up about it. That voice that says, “What did you DO! This is awful! You are such a loser!” needs to be recognized for what it is. It is NOT YOU. Your voice would not be so abusive. Your authentic voice will be kind and compassionate, maybe even funny!
2. Go from A to B and back to A if needed. Resist the urge to go from A to Z because that is just a set up for feeling bad when you can’t do it. Baby steps are the key to so many locks, it’s almost ridiculous! This morning I was so tempted not to exercise. It’s been two weeks since I got on the treadmill. Breaking through that inertia is like slogging through a tar pit! Last time I ran 30 minutes without stopping. Was I feeling it today? No. A voice, my kind, compassionate voice said, “No worries! Get on the treadmill for just 15 minutes today. Walk or, if you feel it, run. Just 15 minutes.” That I could do.
3. Compliment yourself on one thing today. Sit with the compliment, no matter how much you want to squirm out of it. Repeat as needed.
4. Find a photo of yourself as a child. Aren’t you cute? Remember that that kid is still there, inside. Talk to the photo. Tell that child it is going to be OK because you are going to take care of him/her.
5. Nurture your body as you would a loved one. Give yourself comfort food when you are feeling down. I mean the good stuff, like chicken soup. Not Twinkies for God’s sake! OK, maybe Twinkies but only if you can stop at two.
6. When you get a booboo, kiss it, say to yourself, “Poor baby.” Resist the urge to call yourself a clumsy idiot.
7. Look in the mirror and actually say out loud what you know your best friend would be saying to you right now!
Elvira G. Aletta, PhD, Founder & CEO
Life gave Dr. Aletta the opportunity to know what it’s like to hurt physically and emotionally. After an episode of serious depression in her mid-twenties, Dr. Aletta was diagnosed with a rare kidney disease that relapsed throughout her adulthood. While treatable, the cure was often as hard to bear as the disease. Later she was diagnosed with scleroderma, another chronic illness.
Throughout, Dr. Aletta battled with anxiety. Despite all this, Dr. Aletta wants you to know, you can learn to engage in life again on your terms.
Good therapy helped Dr. Aletta. She knows good therapy can help you. That’s why she created Explore What’s Next.
Today Dr. Aletta enjoys mentoring the EWN therapists, focusing on coaching and psychotherapy clients, writing and speaking. She is proud and confident that Explore What’s Next can provide you with therapists who will help you regain a sense of safety, control, and joy.
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