With so much focus on the benefits of self-love, the act of self-compassion should be highlighted as a required step on the path to loving oneself in a deep and meaningful way. Compassion is defined as a feeling of sympathy or pity for others, a deep feeling that makes you want to help them. The definition of compassion, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is the "sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it." The definition of compassion focuses on sympathizing with others so greatly that one feels compelled to assist. So, when was the last time that you sympathized with yourself? When was the last time that you were compelled to help yourself heal and unlearn outdated systems? The journey of self-love is not just an outer aesthetic, but also inner work that begins with giving ourselves compassion.
It is lovely to extend compassion to others. But it is essential to extend compassion to ourselves for our mistakes, lack of boundaries, unproductive habits, or bad boyfriend choices. We all have an inner critic. The inner voice that keeps us from posting pictures because we pick apart our appearance. The voice that tells us that our vision is too big for others to see. The petty inner voice that can find fault as oppose to focusing on everything that was right. When the inner critic becomes the source of negative self talk it is our responsibility to turn it off. Silence the negative noise in your head. Give yourself a break. Stop going down the rabbit hole of picking yourself a part and begin to extend grace and compassion to yourself every day. It’s funny that when our friends make a mistake, we are quick to provide them with encouragement. Or when a child is learning something new, we give him/her positive reinforcement until the skill is achieved. Yet we can be so harsh with ourselves when we make a mistake or are learning something new (and there is always something new to learn when adulting).
Self Compassion is being more gentle with yourself, forgiving yourself, validating yourself, and encouraging yourself. To err is human, to forgive is divine. - Alexander Pope. This famous quote is not just about forgiving others, but also forgiving ourselves when we screw up. We all make mistakes or have bloopers when learning something new. Self Compassion simply requires us to be kinder to ourselves when we error or when things did not work out according to plan. You cannot love who you are, but despise the experiences that shape you. The Magic of Self Compassion is that it provides the opportunity to reconcile the most difficult parts of ourselves with empathy, mindfulness, and love.
In 2022, replace your inner critic with your inner cheerleader. Be quick to forgive yourself. Be quick to encourage yourself. Be willing to cheer for yourself loudly, even if you are the only one. Your ears need to hear your voice offering words of inspiration to yourself, especially when you make a mistake or are learning something new. Begin to talk to yourself as you would a friend. Become your own friend. Deepen your relationship with yourself by learning to find solace within by offering yourself compassion. Stop being compassionate and understanding to everyone else but yourself. It is depleting and low vibriational. Self compassion is all about vibrating high and operating out love for oneself. It is choosing words of motivation versus words of shame during internal conversations. Self Compassion takes the fear out of making mistakes. It allows you to take yourself off the hook. Self Compassion magically quiets the inner critic with words of affirmation. The Magic of Self Compassion is that it requires you to be kind to yourself from within where your spirit and soul reside.