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  • Writer's pictureDeborah F

The Gift of Kindness: Cultivating Self-Compassion




Self-compassion is the practice of treating ourselves with the same kindness, concern, and support that we would give to a good friend. As a psychotherapist who works with anxiety, I often find that people struggling with anxiety tend to be very hard on themselves. They tend to judge themselves harshly, focus on their flaws and shortcomings, and constantly criticize themselves. This can lead to feelings of low self-worth and self-esteem, which can contribute to the development and maintenance of anxiety.


Learning to cultivate self-compassion is a powerful tool in managing anxiety and improving our overall mental health and well-being. But, what does it mean to cultivate self-compassion? How can we do this in our daily lives?


One way is to begin by noticing our self-talk. How do we talk to ourselves when we make mistakes or face difficulties? Are we harsh and critical, or do we speak to ourselves with kindness and encouragement? If we notice negative self-talk, we can begin to challenge it and replace it with more compassionate and supportive language.


Another way to cultivate self-compassion is to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness involves paying attention to the present moment without judgment. When we practice mindfulness, we become more aware of our thoughts and emotions, and we learn to accept them without judgment. This can help us to respond to ourselves with greater kindness and understanding.


I often like to view self-compassion as consisting of masculine and feminine aspects. It's important to note that these are just aspects of our personality, regardless of our gender or sexuality. The masculine aspect of compassion can be described as providing a challenge or a call to action, while the feminine aspect of compassion is more nurturing and comforting.


Finding a balance between these aspects can be helpful in cultivating self-compassion. Sometimes we need to challenge ourselves to grow and make positive changes, and other times we need to offer ourselves comfort and support when things are difficult.


Ultimately, cultivating self-compassion is an ongoing practice. It takes time and effort, but it's worth it for the sense of peace and well-being it can bring to our lives. So the next time you find yourself being self-critical, try to reframe those thoughts and offer yourself the same kindness and understanding that you would offer a friend.

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