I Feel Inadequate! How To Accept Yourself With Self-Compassion
Do you treat yourself the same way you treat your friends, your partner or your pet? Thought not. Most people are kind and compassionate to others but not to themselves. Those names you call yourself, the mistakes you replay, the punishment you give yourself for your perceived failures. You wouldn’t dare treat your friend that way, or let them talk to themselves that way, so why is it OK for you to be hard on yourself?
Research has found that those who lack self-compassion are more susceptible to depression and anxiety. Furthermore, being too hard on yourself can also hinder your performance. So, is your lack of self-kindness stopping you from being truly happy and achieving success?
What Is Self-Compassion?
Self-compassion is to consider yourself with warmth, kindness and understanding. It is about treating yourself consistently with the same level of care and comfort. Instead, of beating yourself up for a mistake or self-pitying because of a hardship, you understand it is all part of human experience.
Self-compassion requires a balance between self-improvement and wanting to strive for more, but also being self-accepting of who you are in that moment.
Why Is Self-Compassion Important?
- Studies show self-compassion improves emotional resilience and recovery, especially after emotional traumas such as divorce and separation
- Self-compassion can improve happiness while reducing the harmful effects of stress, anxiety and depression
- Self-kindness can help people to have a healthier body image with reduced shame
- Studies also show that higher levels of self-kindness can improve self-worth and self-esteem
- Self-acceptance can also increase your motivation and desire to succeed.
The Three Components Of Self-Compassion
The leading self-compassion researcher, Kristin Neff, explains that there are three main aspects of self-kindness;
Kindness over criticism – When we feel inadequate, or that we have failed, it can cause pain and self-criticism. However, showing yourself kindness and recognising that mistakes, imperfections and hardships are all inevitable can help. Life can fall short of ideals, and this, understandably, this can lead to stress. However, this suffering greatly increases if you criticise your own actions and get angry as a result.
Humanity over segregation – It can be easy to think that no one understands what you are going through. You may feel like you’re the only person to feel a certain way or to make that specific mistake. This can feel isolating, that you are cut off from the rest of the world. Self-compassion recognises that you are not alone, but events that happen are a shared human experience. There are times when we all suffer, and we all feel inadequate, but you are not alone in feeling that way.
Mindfulness over judgement – This aspect of self-kindness focusses on finding balance and rational perspective. It is about seeing the bigger picture while also recognising the negative thoughts and emotions you feel with an open mind. You can observe your feelings – it’s okay to feel sad or angry – but do not judge yourself because of them. It is about seeing things for what they are, without exaggerating the situation or putting the situation out of context. With this, you are choosing to observe rather than react.
Why People Struggle With Self-Kindness
For many, self-kindness is seen as selfish and self-indulgent action, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Self-compassion focuses on the long-term goal of happiness and healthiness, something we should all strive for. On the other hand, self-indulgence can often be a short-term measure. This could be feeling so bad after a mistake that you eat a whole tub of ice cream or self-medicate with drugs and alcohol.
Showing yourself compassion, and wanting the best for yourself, is not a selfish or self-indulgent action. In the long run, it can actually be a great motivator for growth and development.
Similarly, people can struggle with the concept that self-compassion is not self-pity. While self-pity focuses only on the problems you are facing, self-kindness allows you to take a balanced and objective view of the situation as a whole. All the while, understanding that many other people are going through similar hardships.
Are You Kind To Yourself?
You can find out how self-compassionate you really are by taking this test. At the end of the test, you will be given information on the three aspects of self-compassion and which aspects may need more development.
How To Improve Your Self-Compassion
Following the test, you can then look at ways to improve your self-kindness, some of the best ways to do this include;
- Create a daily journal where you can process difficult events and reflect on moments of kindness throughout the day.
- Comfort yourself with supportive touch (physical touch can help to reduce distressing emotions and provide a sense of security). Touch can include cradling your face, hugging yourself and placing your hand on your heart or abdomen.
- Think about how you’d treat your friends if they were in the same position as you – write down the changes that you’d make.
- Use mantras to be kind to yourself, such as ‘I am strong’, ‘I forgive myself’, ‘I am learning to accept myself as I am.’
- Use guided meditation; this link offers a body scan meditation which can be a great introduction to guided meditations.
If you’re struggling with self-love, kindness and compassion, then hypnotherapy can help to unlock any inner demons that are holding you back. To find out more about how hypnotherapy can help, get in touch to book your free consultation. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to book your free call.