“To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance” – Oscar Wilde
(This content has been approved by our psychologists)
Indeed, loving ourselves, being a friend and being there for ourselves is the kindest thing that we can do for ourselves. Sometimes we are very good at being a support system for others, for our friends, for our family and for our dear ones. It is easy for us to be kind to them and extend our hearts to them.
However, often, whom we forget is ourselves. We forget to be kind and to cheer ourselves, to extend our love to ourselves. Often, all we give ourselves are harsh words and a constant inner critical dialogue, which are very good at dragging us down and keeping our self-esteem low.
To raise our self-esteem, it is important that we learn the art of self-compassion. Life often tests us by putting us through rough situations, and sometimes we aren’t ready to deal with these situations in the most skillful way.
Even though these experiences help us in our self-improvement and become the masters of life, they also make us doubt ourselves, be hard on ourselves and even shame ourselves. In such situations, we often go through self-abandonment and look outside to seek comfort. The only tool that can help us winning ourselves back on the rough path of life is self-compassion.
Self-compassion entails filling our hearts with kindness for ourselves, realising that we all are humans and being mindful about how we treat ourselves. Self-compassion allows us to treat ourselves the way we treat our dear friends. For example, if we make a mistake, Self-compassion allows us to switch-off our internal monstrous critical monologue.
A heart full of self-compassion is able to sit with oneself and provides oneself with a warm, kind, supportive and encouraging inner environment. Self-compassion allows us to become mindful, to soothe ourselves, to alleviate our distress and to elevate our self-esteem.
We can learn the art of self-compassion by adopting small exercises in our life:
Stop being hard on yourself and stop punishing yourself for your past mistakes. Slow down, ground yourself, come back to your body and reflect on your mistakes, learn from them, embrace the human in you, employ a growth mind-set, give yourself a high-five, and move on with your life with a better and wiser you!
Acknowledge what you have in your life and how far you have come.
Give yourself a pat on the back for how much you have already achieved.
Count your blessings, remove your focus from yourself and gently move outward to the enormous beauty of the world.
Journaling your thoughts and sending love letters to yourself and to others are little activities that can assist you to express your gratitude.
Taking care of yourself is the biggest gift that you can give to yourself and to the people around you.
You can’t pour from an empty cup. Fill your cup first, take care of yourself, so that your love can overflow into other people’s lives.
Develop a healthy routine and small rituals for yourself. Eat nourishing food, hydrate yourself, exercise regularly and spend time in nature.
Treat yourself, buy yourself flowers, light a candle and light that stick of sandalwood incense. Go for a massage, rest, relax and recharge.
Take time out for sitting with your thoughts. Even a few minutes of meditation can be a great way to nurture ourselves and accept ourselves during difficult moments.
Mindfulness helps us to remove judgement and extend empathy in every situation. It silences our inner critic and creates a peaceful inner environment.
Remind yourself that that you are doing the best you can in this very moment.
Embrace your humanity, remove the judgement and extend your empathy to yourself.
Love yourself where you are at while being on the path of self-improvement.
You deserve the love that you are so ready to give to others. As researcher, Kristin Neff explains in her book:
Who is the only person in your life who is available 24/7 to provide you with care and kindness? You.