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Self-compassion can be described as “being kind and understanding toward oneself in instances of pain or failure, rather than being harshly self-critical”. Research shows that people who have a higher level of self-compassion, experience less stress and anxiety levels when faced with a threatening situation. Compassion brings mercy, tolerance, and flexibility into everyday life. When being compassionate it’s easier to think that I don’t have to be perfect and things don’t have to be perfect.

Still, for most people it is easier to be more compassionate towards other people than themselves. The good news is that you can learn to be more compassionate towards yourself, but it takes practise. Still, in the end, it is definitely worth it because you are the most important person in your life! With these tips you can start to learn self-compassion.

  • Observe how you speak to yourself. When you notice a feeling of disappointment or failure, pause for a moment. Observe the tone in which you speak.
  •  Accept your feelings. Do not exaggerate or underestimate. Remind yourself that the emotions you are experiencing, are a normal part of life. It is also human to sometimes speak in a harsh tone to yourself; you don’t have to blame yourself for that either.
  • How would you talk to a friend? Think about how you would talk to a friend in the same situation. How does it differ from your way of talking to yourself?
  • It is useful to pay attention to the things that have gone well, you can even write them down. This helps to pay attention on situations where you succeeded. For example, instead of blaming yourself for being lazy at the gym, you can write that you are happy that you went to the gym. That’s what a friend would say – “It is good enough that you went to the gym, be proud of it!”
  • A compassionate attitude means accepting the imperfection of life. No one is perfect, everyone is vulnerable and in trouble. It is in the nature of life that sometimes things go wrong. Remember that nobody can completely control their life or avoid trouble.
  • Take care of yourself. Do something that makes you feel good and take time only for yourself. You deserve joy and feelings of happiness as much as anyone else in this world.

References: Neff, K. (2011) Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself.

Vilhelmiina Välimäki is a Finnish psychologist, who moved to Malta 2018 and has been slowly but surely adjusting to the Maltese environment and culture. She works at Willingness as a Clinical Psychologist and she is specialised in offering support to individuals from different age groups, couples and families.  You can contact her on vilhelmiina@willingness.com.mt or 9944 9910.