Have you ever criticized yourself harshly while going through a stressful situation?
Do you blame yourself when things don’t go as you planned them?
Do you still judge yourself for past mistakes?
Have you noticed that you don’t react in such a harsh way when it’s your best friend who is experiencing stress?
If you answered yes, don’t worry, you are not alone! It is known that many of us sometimes treat ourselves in ways we’d never treat a dear friend. The good news is that we can learn to treat ourselves as we would treat our friend if we saw her suffering.
A decade ago, Dr. Kristin Neff, a pioneering researcher at UC Berkeley, explored a field she named Self-Compassion. She chose that topic because she became aware of her own overly critical reactions against herself, and she realized that other people suffered from that too.
Self-Compassion consists of three elements:
1. Mindfulness: to help us become aware of our pain when it arises.
2. Awareness of Our Shared Humanity: realizing that suffering is part of being alive on this planet, that pain is not something that only YOU experience, so we don’t take it personally.
3. Self-Kindness: having a loving response towards our own suffering, this includes being understanding towards ourselves.
Self-Compassion doesn’t mean self-pity, self-indulging or denial. It doesn’t mean adopting a “poor me” attitude or avoiding responsibility. It means recognizing when you are suffering, realizing that suffering is universal, and then responding in a loving and wise way in order to alleviate your suffering.
So, next time you feel stressed, instead of beating yourself up, remember you can be there for yourself, as if you would be there for your best friend.
If you want to learn more about specific ways in which you can become kinder to yourself, please contact me or anyone else trained in Mindfulness or in Self Compassion.
For more information about Dr. Neff see: www.self-compassion.org.
FABIOLA GIRALDO, M.PSY
Certified in Mindfulness by The Institute for Meditation & Psychotherapy
Hypnosis, Master NLP and Reiki Practitioner
Certified Life Coach & Grief Recovery Specialist
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