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5 Simple Ways to Cultivate Self-Compassion in Your Daily Life

Self-Compassion enables us to empathize with others as we learn to be compassionate towards ourselves

neon sign that reads "breathe", representing self compassion

A stranger’s compassion can make a world of difference.

- Oprah Winfrey 

Although various religions may differ in belief systems, they all agree on one common element. The teachings of compassion have been taught through all religions for centuries and continue to do so.

Let’s imagine for a moment that you are driving through a desert, and your car breaks down in the middle of your journey. You have no spare tire, and you run out of the last drop of drinking water. Your Phone isn't working because you are way out of the coverage area, so there is no chance to call the SOS. You are distressed and nervous after hours of trying to figure out what to do in this situation when suddenly a car stops by and offers to tow your vehicle. What a blessing! The stranger didn’t have to stop but still did and tried to help you. And that’s all it takes to be compassionate: to help someone even when they can’t offer you anything in return.

Nevertheless, the practice of compassion is not only limited to others but also to yourself. We appreciate when someone is kind towards us but often need to remember to do that for ourselves. Many of us are hard on ourselves. We see ourselves under the microscope of self-judgment and criticize ourselves when all that’s needed is empathy toward ourselves in times of difficulty. It’s the understanding and realization that we are doing our best in a given situation, and that sometimes we aren’t functioning at 100% or achieving the results expected of us by others and ourselves. 

More self-compassionate individuals tend to have greater happiness, life satisfaction and motivation, better relationships and physical health, and less anxiety and depression. They also have the resilience needed to cope with stressful life events such as financial setbacks, divorce, health crises, academic failure, and even combat trauma.

When we are mindful of our struggles and respond to ourselves with compassion, kindness, and support in times of difficulty, things start to change. We learn to embrace ourselves and our lives despite inner and outer imperfections and we provide ourselves with the strength needed to thrive.

Self-compassion is not the same as selfishness; neither does it make us weak and vulnerable. Instead, it’s the ability to show up for oneself and have the strength of character to not be afraid of showing emotions. It enables us to empathize with others as we learn to be compassionate towards ourselves. 

Powerful Practices of Self-Compassion

Letter to Self

Writing a letter to yourself is a beautiful practice that helps us find and connect with our compassionate inner self. In this letter, you can check in , motivate, and support yourself no matter what you are feeling at the moment.

You could imagine how you would write to a dear friend or a loved one and use the same tone. This helps us understand one’s emotions better and let ourselves know that we are there for ourselves.

Some scientific studies suggest physical benefits to practicing compassion — people who practice it produce 100 percent more DHEA, a hormone that counteracts the aging process, and 23 percent less cortisol — the “stress hormone”.

Empathize with Your Emotions 

Every time you experience a complex emotion such as anger, sadness, disappointment, or guilt, instead of running away from it. Empathize with your feelings. Understand where that emotion comes from and recognize if it’s valid. 

Soothe yourself by placing a hand on your chest (this practice activates the release of oxytocin, the hormone of safety and trust).

Empathize with yourself by vocalizing your experience; “I understand that I’m feeling hurt,” “This is hard,” or choose the words that resonate with you to describe your experience.

Allow yourself to be vulnerable; it’s a scary place, but that helps us process our emotions in a healthy way.

Distance yourself from Unhealthy Situations

As an empath, you always try to fix situations and help others. Having boundaries can help you protect yourself and your energy. Recognize when it is time to take a step back in certain situations and act upon it. Prioritizing your mental health and peace is not selfish. In fact, quite the contrary. 

Remember, you can always do more for others when your cup is full. 

Distance yourself from situations and people who are energy drainers. Instead, spend your time and energy doing things that lift you up, recharge you, and help you reconnect with yourself. Prioritizing your well-being is a form of self-compassion. 

Invest in Yourself 

You are your biggest asset in this lifetime. Invest your time, energy, and money in your growth. As you start to do that, you’ll realize how much you have ignored yourself. Strengthen your relationship with yourself. Help yourself to grow mentally, physically, and spiritually. The world around you will always be the same until you change yourself. If you want others to be more compassionate towards you, you need to start being compassionate towards yourself. 

Cultivate Positive Relationships

The more you distance yourself from unhealthy situations, the more room you’ll have for positive relationships and situations. Surround yourself with people who support your growth, appreciate you for who you are, and have a positive energy exchange with you. A support system suitable to your well-being is an excellent form of self-love and compassion. 

It’s a beautiful feeling when someone else is kind to us and helps us in our time of need. Imagine if you can be that someone for yourself. Just a daily gentle reminder to yourself, that when that inner critic speaks up and navigates your thoughts, change the direction to a more positive, kinder dialect. Be there for yourself as you would be for a loved one.

If you are a HerMeNow participant or alumni, book your free coaching session now through the HerMeNow website

portrait of Anam Anjum

Anam Anjum Wellness Consultant +971 52 629 9656


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