Be aware of the words you are saying to yourself, attempt to end any self-critical talk, and halt the shame spiral the moment it begins. Instead, be loving and compassionate to yourself the same way you would be to a friend when you’re at your best. It is about offering warmth and sympathy to yourself. Recognizing that imperfection, failure, and life’s difficulties are inevitable can help in being gentle with yourself. This involves stopping the self judgement and actively comforting yourself, saying something like, “This is really difficult right now. How can I care and comfort myself in this moment?” It can help to develop a personal mantra to practice being kind to yourself, something like, “I’m having a hard time and I need to give myself compassionate care”.
This step of self-compassion reminds us of our shared humanity. After all, we are only human. When we feel shame or inadequacy we are more likely to feel isolated from the world and our perspective tends to narrow; we may get bitter. However, compassion is relational, the word compassion means “to suffer with”. We all suffer; it is a part of the human experience. When we are in touch with our common humanity, we remember that feelings of inadequacy or disappointment are shared by all. There is comfort in recognizing we do not suffer alone, every human is in the same boat, we don’t always get what we want, we don’t always get treated well. Remember we are all in this together because feeling connected with others in our life experiences fosters compassion and connection, rather than feeling isolated and alienated by our own suffering.
Currently we are all living in a time of isolation and yet have never been more joined in thoughts, experiences, and fears. Together we are adjusting to a very different lifestyle and it’s okay to feel like you don’t have it together. This is the common human experience in our world right now, we are not alone in our struggles and worries, and it won’t last forever. Self-compassion is linked to resiliency and reducing the effects of anxiety and trauma. It empowers us to handle what we need to in our lives because we care about ourselves and want to reduce our suffering. I believe this interruption in our lives is an opportunity to practice more compassion towards each other, our community, and ourselves and perhaps we will all come out of this having made the world a little better.
Here is a self-compassion mantra to practice during this time:
“This is a really difficult time, a lot of people feel the same way, I choose to be kind to myself, and give myself the compassion I need.”