Self-compassion is the muscle to train and strengthen to enhance emotional well-being. The practice of extending loving-kindness toward ourselves in moments of weakness and vulnerability is what will ultimately promote resiliency in the face of adversity.
It is not until we silence our harshest critic (ourselves) and chose to soften our hearts that we are awakened and empowered to advocate for ourselves.
Simple as it may sound to extend loving-kindness toward ourselves when we don’t “measure up,” it’s not easy. We often choose self-condemnation over self-compassion, reacting to discursive thoughts filled with derogatory and damaging dialogue.
However, if we choose to regularly exercise the muscle of self-compassion it will not only sustain us in moments of pain and suffering, it will also reduce those reactive modes and provide the strength we need to heal ourselves with gentleness and warmth.
This salutary practice of extending loving-kindness towards ourselves is restorative medicine when we feel broken, exhausted, and worn out. Self-compassion rejuvenates our emotional well-being and is curative for the careworn.
The practice of extending self-compassion towards ourselves is about acknowledging the existence of discomfort and pain and choosing to not avoid or wrestle with the discomfort. Instead, self-compassion provides the spaciousness to accept the uncomfortable realities within and outside ourselves, creating greater flexibility and ultimately adaptability.
Self-compassion’s strength is gentleness and kindness. Allowing us to let go and soften our hearts and minds to cultivate qualities that better serve us.
It is not till we strengthen our own self-compassion, which is to say, until we befriend ourselves and treat ourselves with unconditional love are we able to love our neighbor as our self.
This ability to nurture ourselves provides adequate nutrients to necessitate our own well-being. In addition, it provides us strength to exercise compassion for others.
The strengthening of self-compassion is a humble practice and does not require an elaborate or formulaic approach. Instead, self-compassion can be simply practiced by lingering at the mirror while washing your hands. This is not a sort of grin-and-bear-it exercise; rather, it is an opportunity to open up to yourself and smile back at a dear friend instead of frowning back the furrows.
Why not start here? Why not let your fetters be feathers and gently smile them away?
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