How To Show Compassion To Self And Others
Given the challenges of COVID 19 which has caused wide-spread suffering over the last year and a half, compassion is ever more valued. This means that anything to alleviate suffering, such as compassion, has never been more impactful in instances both big and small.
‘A single act of kindness, like a stone thrown in a pond,
sends rings of ripples outward, that travel far and beyond;
and joining other ripples flow outward to the sea;
a single act of kindness affects eternity’
Compassion itself is not to be mistaken with pity, sympathy, empathy or altruism. Altruism is the act of serving others to detriment to oneself, it is similar to compassion in the aspect of helping others. An amalgamation of these things forms compassion, through key elements of understanding someone’s suffering and feeling for them but with the added element of compelling people to act in a way that specifically alleviates another’s suffering.
The power of compassion is something that may have touched us all through meaningful gestures - such as a well thought out present, a bed to sleep on or a good meal when we’re hungry.
Compassion for the self
An incredibly beneficial part of wellbeing is Compassion for The Self. This allows us to care for our emotional, mental and psychological wellbeing; with a little effort we can help ourselves thrive. To treat ourselves in a compassionate way will further help us with self-fulfillment, productivity, positive relationships and even physical wellbeing.
Treat yourself as you would treat a loved one
A great way to approach self-compassion is to think of how you would treat somebody you love, what kind of companion would you like to be to them? And now you want to try and be that companion to yourself. Treat yourself in a kind, warm and caring manner. When you are sad be there for yourself! When you make a mistake be kind to yourself, you’re only human and we all make mistakes.
Acknowledge your pain and suffering
More self-compassion comes from acknowledging our suffering, we must admit when or if we’re hurting. We should allow ourselves to feel our emotions. It is only once we acknowledge our suffering that we can feel it and move past it. When we can move past our emotions we regain happiness, fulfillment and the ability to focus our energy onto what we want to.
Care for yourself
This one comes down to self-care measures. These measures will be things that enable you to maintain a healthy lifestyle, such as eating well. We don’t mean to have a super healthy diet or exhausting exercise regime, just to have enough of the right things to care for yourself. But remember if you’re struggling and don’t manage it then be kind to yourself, you will get there! Self-care also includes pampering yourself on occasion with a hot bath or a meal out to reward yourself for getting through life.
Remember to be grateful for what you have in life. Even if it feels like there’s not much positive to focus on, remember to acknowledge it as much as you acknowledge your other feelings.
Compassion and Mindfulness
Mindfulness and self-compassion can go hand-in-hand because mindfulness is the first step toward emotional healing and self-compassion is all about listening to your emotions. Mindfulness can be a method of self-compassion. Healing our own emotions also helps us to experience more empathy toward others which has a knock-on effect on our ability to show compassion toward others.
Methods of practising mindfulness include meditation, living in the moment, accepting yourself and focusing on your breathing. Taking some quiet time during the day to is a good time to practice these and reflect on life.
Something that mindfulness can help us with is negative self talk. Negative self-talk is something we are all susceptible to. If we negatively talk about ourselves then what we’re doing is perpetuating negativity in our beliefs of ourselves and our abilities. Therefore completely limiting what we’re capable of just by using the wrong personal narrative.
If we negatively talk about ourselves out loud then we’re giving others permission to talk negatively about us too. Which can limit our opportunities in life, whilst we’re actively limiting our own abilities through the same negative self-talk and beliefs. So, improve on this by changing the narrative and remember to speak to yourself as you would speak to a loved one.
Random Acts of Kindness
Do 3 random acts of kindness 3 times a day for 3 days! They can’t be the same act 3 times though, so no cheating. For example- making a cup of tea for someone, tipping a waiter/waitress, helping a stranger who’s lost.
Write down 3 positive things a day for 3 days! Something you did that went well, 3 things a day, write down what you did and why it went well. For example- a good presentation at a meeting and your colleagues responded well with praise and want to use your idea.
Write a letter saying someone to say thank you for something that you never got to say thank you for. Either you didn’t say anything at the time or just never got the chance. You don’t have to send it to them, but you can if you like!