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How to Practice Self-Compassion: 8 Techniques and Tips

Source | | Catherine Moore, Psychologist, MBA

Have you ever lost your temper at…yourself? Blamed and then beat yourself up a little inside for doing something you regret? Maybe you’ve been harsh with someone, only to be much harsher with yourself later?

It’s easy to be tough on yourself—we tend to do it much, much more than we realize. But what if there was a better way? When we forgive ourselves, accept our perceived flaws, and show ourselves kindness, we practice self-compassion. It’s often a lot harder than it sounds, but with the right techniques, we can learn to make it a habit that sticks.

If you ever judge or criticize yourself for no justifiable reason, some of these techniques could be valuable. Some might not be your cup of tea, but others might resonate and come in handy when you least expect it. Read on to find out how to practice self-compassion with tips and exercises, then tell us—what works for you?

How to Have and Show Self-Compassion

Self-compassion is a positive attitude we can have towards ourselves, and it’s also an empirically measurable construct. Operationally defined and introduced to the positive psychology literature by Associate Professor Dr. Kristin Neff, it is comprised of three separate constructs: Self-kindness, Common Humanity, and Mindfulness (Neff, 2003a; 2003b).

Having self-compassion means being able to relate to yourself in a way that’s forgiving, accepting, and loving when situations might be less than optimal. We know that it’s similar to (yet less permanent than) self-love and that it’s distinct from self-esteem, but how do we show self-compassion?

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