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The Art of Loving Yourself: Self-Compassion

It is the season of love and Valentine’s Day, and there can be a lot of societal pressure to show love to those around us, but how do we show love to ourselves? One important way that we can show love to ourselves is through the practice of self-compassion. According to positive psychology researchers compassion is about showing love, empathy and kindness to those who are experiencing difficulties, self-compassion is about extending that same compassion back toward yourself.
Many of us mistakenly believe that being tough on ourselves, especially when we make mistakes or feel like failures, will help us to succeed in the long-term or do better the next time. Research shows that mentally beating yourself up, may impede your performance. On the other hand, developing a sense of self-compassion can help you in many areas of your life, and there are a great number of social, psychological and physical health benefits that are associated with self-compassion.
Dr. Kristin Neff, an expert in self-compassion research, explains that there are three main elements of self-compassion:

  • Self-kindness vs. Self-Judgement – Being kind and gentle to ourselves, rather than harshly criticizing ourselves.
  • Common Humanity vs. Isolation – Recognizing that suffering, making mistakes, and personal failures are all normal parts of everyone’s life. We are not alone!
  • Mindfulness vs. Over-Identification – Observing our negative emotions non-judgmentally, without over-focusing on them or trying to suppress them.

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Be well. Do well.

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Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.

~ Confucius

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