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How To Use the Components of Self-Compassion During Self-Improvement Month

How To Use the Components of Self-Compassion During Self-Improvement Month

Don’t be too hard on yourself during self-improvement month! You can use the components of self-compassion to move at your own pace.

The three components of self-compassion can provide you with the same kindness and care you would give to a friend.

It’s easy to fall into traps of pushing too hard on yourself, but you can move at a pace that works for you with these tips in mind.

Self-improvement month is a wonderful time to focus on your growth. You might be building better habits or creating new beliefs, but it’s easy to become self-critical, inflexible, and ruminate on your shortcomings when you don’t meet your expectations. Keeping the components of self-compassion in mind allows you to be kind to yourself in times of doubt or struggle.


What is self-compassion?

Self-compassion isn’t much different than compassion for others. You might feel empathy when you see someone struggle or suffer. Compassion means “to suffer with.” When you notice someone struggling, you respond to their pain with a sense of warmth and a desire to help. You might offer your loved ones kindness or understanding, instead of judgment, when you see them fail. You’ll understand that you’ve been in similar situations, and it’s part of the human experience.

Practicing self-compassion is the same. When you make a mistake or don’t reach your goals, you forgive yourself instead of criticizing. Self-compassion allows you to accept your shortcomings and move forward despite them.

Dr. Kristin Neff is a pioneer of self-compassion and states that there are three components to keep in mind.


1. Self-kindness vs. self-judgment

Unfortunately, it’s not possible to be perfect. There will be days when you don’t meet your goals and feel inadequate. Part of self-compassion is to practice self-kindness during these moments. You can be warm, understanding, and gentle toward yourself when you experience hardships. Ignoring your pain, getting angry, and criticizing yourself during trouble only increases stress.

2. Common humanity vs. isolation

It’s easy to feel isolated, like you’re the only one in pain or making mistakes; but suffering from negative emotions and facing hardships are part of the human experience. Everyone has off days, and you aren’t alone. Self-compassion requires you to recognize that what you’re experiencing is part of the shared human experience. You aren’t alone, and the world isn’t singling you out more than anyone else.

3. Mindfulness vs. over-identification

It’s essential to have a balanced perspective about negative emotions and hardships. You don’t want to suppress your feelings or exaggerate them. The key is to understand that what you’re going through is normal and to look at your situation from a broader perspective. Being mindful is to observe your thoughts and emotions without judgment. You don’t need to silence your feelings, but you don’t need to be consumed by them either.

How you can practice self-compassion

Now that you understand the three components of self-compassion, how can you add them to your life? Besides keeping the components in mind, there are a few exercises you can do to increase your awareness.

Practice 1: How would you treat a friend?

One way you can practice self-compassion is to imagine how you would treat a friend who’s struggling. What would you say or do to reassure them? Write it down on a piece of paper. Now imagine a time when you’re struggling. How do you treat yourself? Is there a difference? Imagine what would happen if you treated yourself as a friend during hardship or stress — what would change?

Practice 2: Take a self-compassion break

A self-compassion break can be done at any time and from anywhere. You can recall a stressful time in your life or use the technique during times of hardship.

First, bring your attention to your emotions and say to yourself, “This is a moment of suffering.” Second, place your hand over your heart and repeat, “Suffering is a part of life, and I’m not alone.” Finally, ask yourself, “What do I need to hear right now to be kind to myself?” Practicing this exercise when you’re not feeling stressed can help you recall self-compassion when you need it most.


Practice 3: Focus on what you really want

This is a three-part exercise to bring your attention to your inner dialogue and how you motivate yourself.

-How do you use self-judgment as a motivator? Think about how you criticize yourself. Is there something you want to change, like your appearance, work ethic, or habits? Identify the emotions of being self-critical and feeling judged.

-How can you use a kinder way to motivate yourself? How would a caring friend, parent, or mentor gently nudge you in the right direction? How would they bring attention to what’s working and what isn’t? Imagine the encouraging words they would say that would help you take steps in the right direction.

-Catch yourself being self-critical in the future: Take a pause when you notice yourself becoming self-critical in the future. Sit with the pain for a second and give yourself the space to be self-compassionate. Take a moment to reframe your thoughts to reflect a nurturing friend or loved one. You don’t need to use self-judgment as a motivator — you can use love instead!

The three components of self-compassion are essential tools for self-improvement month. You can recall the components and practices in times of doubt, stress, or failure. Keeping these concepts in mind will help you be kind to yourself and move forward at your own pace.

Try practicing self-compassion with an in-home massage! Download the MOBILESTYLES App today to schedule an appointment!


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