“Be gentle first with yourself if you wish to be gentle with others.” – Lama Yeshe
Sometimes, people are very cruel and unforgiving to themselves. Imagine you made a huge mistake on a particular project at work, creating another burden for your co-workers and yourself, or you might accidentally say dumb on a first date or an important meeting. How would you really react?
You have to keep in mind that being good to yourself does not need to include a calendar full of spa treatments for yourself. It just means treating yourself the way you treat a good friend.
Many people would react in such situations by chastising themselves for their mistakes. In such case, you are figuratively beating yourself up. In just a small dose, self-criticism can actually be very helpful because it motivates people to take more responsibility for all their actions, and it encourages them to further improve themselves. However, excessive self-criticism can be self-defeating and debilitating.
The Road to Self-Compassion
Self-compassion is really important. It means treating one’s self with understanding and kindness once you commit a mistake, or go through a complex situation, just the way you treat others you care about.
This is quite that same with self-esteem in some way, but it is not about the way you are judging yourself, but the way you are treating yourself. Therefore, whether you are thinking that you are a great individual or a not-so-great one in a certain moment, you can have compassion for yourself. For instance, you might say that it is fine to make a mistake; you will just try harder the next time.
There are lots of different approaches to building self-compassion, and one of which is being able to shift your perspective. Indeed, it is quite easier for us to give compassion to others than it is for us to give it to ourselves. In such a case, it might be better if we start treating yourself better.
You can pretend that a person you care about is in your shoes. Think about the things that you would say to them. You might actually say something kinder and better than what you would be saying to yourself. Variations of these exercises involve adopting a new perspective.
You also need to remember that one of the most important prerequisites for self-compassion is having the belief that you, just like any other human beings, always deserve to be treated with love and compassion. Building self-compassion can also help you protect yourself from those destructive individuals.
Perhaps, one of the primary keys for you to be constantly good to yourself is to always believe in yourself and have more faith in your capabilities. Do not be too hard in yourself and learn to acknowledge your achievements. Through this, you will see the significant changes that will happen in your life.