The Greatest Love Of All – Self-Compassion

shutterstock_109323725 heartAs the month of February rolls in, I start to notice all the signs of the approaching Day of Love. Even though I’m not keen on the commercial hype I do still get drawn in to buying one of those tacky cards with romantic verses that I would never naturally use.

What I do love though is the idea of taking a day to really celebrate and be grateful for having love in my life. It’s just a shame that this focus is never applied to the greatest love of all – self-compassion.

Imagine taking a day to celebrate all the things you love about yourself and to be grateful for all the positive strengths and skills you have. You could give yourself a day off from the constant judging and evaluating that we habitually do and instead practice self-compassion.

Self-compassion, according to Dr Kirsten Neff, is made up of 3 components:

  1. Self-kindness – Being kind,gentle and understanding to ourselves, especially when we’re suffering
  2. Common humanity – Being aware that we’re not alone in struggling and suffering grief, rejection and failure, rather that it is part of our experience as humans
  3. Mindfulness – Observing life as it is at this moment without judgement and whilst accepting our thoughts and feelings

Self-compassion is therefore clearly different from self-pity, which means you are so overwhelmed by your problems that you forget others struggle too. It’s also not being self-indulgent as it doesn’t mean ignoring problems or responsibilities, but being kind to yourself whilst struggling with them.

If there was such a self-compassion day, what could you do to make the day special? Well first I would reccomend you imagine what you might do for a close friend who was in need of compassion and try it on yourself. You might want to;

  1. Put time aside for focusing on yourself and think of all the good things about you
  2. Stop being self-critical and using negative self-talk
  3. Do something that you really like, such as a long bath, reading, listening to music
  4. Remind yourself of the mistakes and tough times that other people have been through, it’s not just you who gets it wrong.
  5. Try practicing a mindfulness exercise, to keep focused on the present and give your mind a break

If you are on your own this February 14th why not change the day into a celebration of you and treat yourself to some self-compassion. Or if you have a romantic day planned with your partner you could nominate a different date for just you.

Enjoy your day and I’d love to know how you get on.




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