Unlike self-pity, which leads you down a path of victimhood and doubt, self-compassion is practice of forgiving yourself and not accepting responsibility for things that are not in your control. It’s also taking the time to acknowledge that, even when you are responsible, it’s not the end of the world… everyone makes mistakes. While these mistakes may be difficult to cleanup, they are common to everyone.
One of the keys to developing self-compassion is to practice mindfulness. With a mindful awareness you practice being present and experiencing the present, like listening to music, eating food, or evaluating your emotions. This helps in several ways, such as helping to realize that the present emotion is temporary and that it doesn’t have to affect your day. Also, it gives you the opportunity to “check” your inner critic… You know that voice in your head that is so quick point out your mistakes isn’t always right.
When you are taking the time to check your critic, try to reverse the situation…. If your friend had made this mistake, what would you advise them to do? How would you help them? You could also imagine your friend speaking to you like your inner critic… and realize that the criticism isn’t realistic or helpful.
Another simple, tool is to write yourself “kind” notes and leave them around your home & workspace. Ok, I know it sounds silly, but these notes are for you. To inspire, cheer, give hope and encouragement to yourself… You know you the words you need to hear better than anyone else, so write them down and leave them where you will see them.
Some other things to remember. Sometimes, depression isn’t a choice… You can’t just flip a switch and make these dark thoughts go away. But never forget that they are temporary. Working on your mindfulness, compassion and kindness is a process and some days will be better than others. There will be good days, and you can teach yourself to have more of them as you grow.
Lastly and always, if it ever gets to dark, or it feels like it’s to hard to go on, PLEASE call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.