Self Compassion

Do you blame and judge yourself for the smallest of mistakes?
“How could I be so stupid? What was I thinking? Why didn’t I take care of myself months ago? Why did I get into that relationship? How could I be so dumb to make that mistake? I’m so angry with myself!”

If you do this often, then you run the risk of exacerbating your distress by constantly judging yourself for how you acted or reacted. Even a small negative event will bring out the worst criticism within yourself. It’s like making a mole of an event into a mountain hill by constantly obsessing over it and finding faults within oneself for that event. It can even make a neutral event into a negative one.

According to Kristin Neff (2003), self-compassion involves “being open to and moved by one’s own suffering, experiencing feelings of caring and kindness toward oneself, taking an understanding, nonjudgmental attitude toward one’s inadequacies and failures, and recognizing that one’s experience is part of the common human experience”.

When you personalize everything then you tend to blame yourself for everything. You become the centre of the event and fail to see the other factors that may have contributed to it. When you express anger towards yourself instead of compassion every time something happens, then you escalate the problems. Insulting yourself with negative language often becomes an escape route. You will often start indulging in pity and anger and tell yourself – “What’s the point in doing anything? I’m like this. I can never change. Why should I even try to change?” Cursing yourself saps your energy emotionally and physically and instead of solving problems, you tend to escape from it.

If you are compassionate towards yourself
1. You will be reducing the impact of negative events in your life.
2. You will be more likely to feel motivated and overcome even major setbacks.
3. It will increase your self esteem in turn. In fact, people with high self esteem are the ones who are compassionate towards themselves.
4. You will be feeling more positive and energetic.

Self Compassion doesn’t mean
1. Self indulgence.
2. Pity.
3. Not taking responsibility for your mistakes.
4. Putting the blame on someone else when it’s your fault.
5. Lack of remorse.

Things that will help

  • Treat yourself with kindness. Your girl friend left you and you are heart-broken. It will be adding salt to your wound by judging yourself too harshly. Yes, you didn’t see the signs. Yes, it could have been avoided. But cursing yourself about it will not make it any better. You need to look at ways to cope with it and you can start by being kind to yourself.
  • In NLP there is a technique where you write down the negative event on a piece of paper and set it to fire. You can do the same with self loathing. If you are judging yourself then write down those judgement statements on a piece of paper and set it to fire and practice some compassion afterwards.
  • When someone else’s behavior triggers a self blame response in yourself then you need to recognize from where it arises. Is his behavior reflective of yours? Do you feel responsible for what he did? Do your blame yourself for his behavior? Are you being overly judgmental about your or his behavior?  Most of the times we do not take external factors into consideration and start judging ourselves or others.
  • You may not like certain parts of yourself but that doesn’t mean that you start disliking your whole self.  Practice appreciating the parts that you like and find a way to accept the parts that you dislike with EFT or improve upon them.
  • Do EFT. Start by tapping on the negative event and then by tapping on your perception of the event – how you feel about it and why you judge yourself.

You can tap on the following affirmations daily to become more compassionate towards yourself.

Even though I am not compassionate with myself, I choose to practice self compassion.
Even though I blame myself for everything, I choose to start appreciating myself.
Even though I always find a reason to blame myself for anything that happens, I choose to start treating myself with kindness.

Note: If you have deep self hatred then you would require EFT therapy with a trained professional. Deep rooted self hatred requires careful analysis and skillful EFT application.

Neff, K. (2003). Self-compassion: An alternative conceptualization of a healthy attitude toward oneself. Self and Identity.

About Puja

I am a Counseling Psychologist, Certified EFT Practitioner & Accredited EFT master Trainer of Trainers with EFTi. In my 15+ years of experience, I have effectively used EFT and Counseling to help clients heal their emotional and physical problems.
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