Self compassion is allowing yourself to feel understanding and kindness towards yourself, despite your failures, disappointments, imperfections and shortcomings.
This pressure may be more of a hindrance to progress than we anticipate. Some tasks or skills will take practice and patience. Growing up my parents refused to say the common phrase “Practice makes perfect.” Instead, we would say “Practice makes better.” Rather than trying to achieve perfection we can work towards being better.
Dr. Neff defined self-compassion in three elements:
- Self-kindness vs Self-judgment — Understanding that we will inevitably experience failure and life difficulties but treating ourselves with gentleness is a way to accept it rather than self-criticism or ignoring our pain.
- Common humanity vs Isolation — Recognizing that suffering and inadequacy is a human experience that we all share. The common phrase “you are not alone” comes to mind here. You are not the only one that will make mistakes and our mistakes and failures can connect us just as much as our successes.
- Mindfulness vs Over identification — Be mindful of negative emotions and thoughts. Don’t ignore your pain but also don’t be consumed by it. Remember that self-compassion is not to be confused with self-pity, self-indulgence, or self-esteem. Practice compassion towards yourself.
There are many ways to practice self-compassion. Some ways are to practice positive self-talk, exploring through writing, or creating healthier habits. Find an exercise that suits you and try to maintain it in this new year.
Have a wonderful New Year!
About the Writer…
Jamaica Okech is a current Masters student studying Social Work at the University of Texas at Arlington. As a native Texan and member of the Black community she has a passion for finding ways to reduce harm in the lives of those in need. Jamaica is inspired to be in the mental health/counseling field due to the gaps she has witnessed in the treatment of historically marginalized communities.
As an aspiring clinician, Jamaica believes in the importance of therapy as a helpful tool to support individuals in their healing and self discovery journeys. In her therapeutic approach, she provides an unbiased safe space for her client to grow at their own pace. She provides support by prioritizing their wellness through trauma informed care, empowerment, and personalized treatment.