Self Compassion

Self-compassion is when we recognize our own suffering and take action to relieve it. 

Raise your hand if you are kind and gentle with yourself? My guess is not many of us.  

Who can relate to this story

  •  I made a pretty substantial mistake at work. My heart sank, I froze, I was shaky and anxious about what would happen next. “Will I get fired?” “Will I lose the opportunity for promotion?” “Will everyone think I am inadequate?” I was really hard on myself and relentlessly unforgiving. I ruminated and felt anxious for days. I lost sleep. I cringe every time I think of the mistake and remind myself how stupid that was.  

I think many of us have been here. Can you imagine treating a friend this way if they made a big mistake and came to you to talk about it? I don’t think so. We would offer our friends comfort and remind them that it will all be okay. We would validate them and their abilities, and we would show up with kindness. 

We need to learn how to treat ourselves as we would a dear friend when we are suffering or make a mistake. Mistakes are only human after all. And when we learn how to be kind and gentle with ourselves, we build resilience! AND we teach our children that mistakes are a part of life and we are not bad for making them. Win-win!

This week, practice being kind to yourself.

This week’s practice: 

  1. Notice when you are hard on yourself (guilt, judgment, low self-esteem, negative self-talk, etc.)
  2. Say to yourself, “Just like me, other people also feel this way. I am not alone. I deserve forgiveness and I forgive myself.” 
  3. You can take it a step further and give yourself positive feedback, remind yourself that you are an incredible person with many gifts. You simply made a mistake or were imperfect in one scenario. 

In the classroom: 

  1. Notice when your students are being hard on themselves or feel bad about something they said or did. 
  2. Remind them that all people feel this way sometimes, that this feeling is part of being a human. 
  3. You could share with them a story of a time you felt the same way, to help them feel less alone. 

Note: With the youngest students, see “At home” for more tips. 

At home: 

  1. Notice when your children have a difficult feeling (nervous, sad, jealous, disappointed, etc.) or are being hard on themselves.  
  2. Remind them that they are not the only ones who feel this way. “Many other children also feel [name the feeling].  You are not alone. This is a normal and healthy feeling.” 
  3. Take a few deep breaths with them, offer a hug. Remind them how special they are.

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