Self-compassion, also referred to as self-love, is one of the most important elements of our human existence, and also one of the most ignored.
Without self-compassion, there can be only limited love and compassion towards others. I have seen this come true time and time again.
This fact is all the more painful when it presents in caring and lovely people who really want to help the people around them. Until they have learnt to exercise self-compassion, they do not have the strength to love in the way they could.
Self-love gives us the power and strength to truly love others
Because the act of self-love is the first step in unlocking our spiritual health, it leads onto a long list of benefits:
- Reduced stress
- Happiness that isn’t dependent on others
- Attraction of better life opportunities and relationships
- Awareness of habits, self, and health
- Improved personal relationships
- Ability to take all forms of criticism
- Access to loving honesty
- Rapid ability to rewire behavioural structures in our self
- A closer view of reality, seeing reality rather than the reality we convince ourself of
- Ultimately, more freedom from hurt than we have ever known
This is an obvious set of benefits that I have composed within a couple of minutes thought, the order is the rough order that I encountered them as I began to treat myself with self-love and compassion. The first 5 came quickly, the rest took some time. Documenting the steps on how I followed this path is the aim of all of my writing.
How to exercise self-compassion/self-love
A basic level of mindfulness is required to undertake tasks where we are seeking truths about our own selves. The Samatha-Vipassana breathing exercise is one of the most convenient, easiest and effective tools, but there is no wrong way to practice mindfulness as long as we are not controlled by wants. I wrote a short guide to this here.
Here are 5 steps for strengthening self-compassion, and a funny picture
1) Set aside time to practice self-compassion
2) Surrender control
3) Reserve judgement
Try to avoid doing this
4) Accept your feelings and your thoughts
5) Accept and Forgive past actions
I hope this article has left you feeling motivated enough to tackle this practice. Most people discover this later in life, and everyone admits that it would have benefited them sooner.
The amazing BK
Further reading. I came across an excellent and in-depth article about self-compassion during research for this piece. If you are so inclined to read research articles, I would recommend it. http://self-compassion.org/wp-content/uploads/publications/empirical.article.pdf