Recent research is showing that “Self Compassion,” may be a vital life skill to develop when dealing with stressful life situations. According to Dr Nef f (www.self-compassion.org) “Self Compassion, “ Is “ extending compassion to the self for ones failings, inadequacies and experiences of suffering. “ In other words, the skills that we use to take care of other people who are suffering or going through hardships are the same skills that should be applied towards ourselves. It involves becoming aware of our own feelings, needs and then using self-compassion to be kind to ourselves.
However, “Self-compassion” is often confused with “self pity.” Merriam Dictionary defines “self-pity,” as “pity for one self, dwelling on one’s own sorrows or misfortunes.” Self-pity is a “psychological state of mind,” of where one does not have the skills or mindset to take on an objective view of their situation and is often marked by the habit of concentrating one’s inner thoughts.
Self-pity can create a vicious cycle of negative thoughts and mindset. As human beings you crave a connection with others. However, when you are focused inward, and only on your own feelings, it can often prevent you from connecting emotionally with others, therefore blocking the intimacy you were looking for.
How does one recognize self pity?
• Having feelings of unfairness
• Wishing the world will swallow you up
• When you are alone you think about your miseries, unhappiness, failures
• Having feelings of resentment and jealousy towards others for the things you think you should have.
• Making statements such as “why me,” “I don’t deserve this,” I’m worthless
• You either over identify with your feelings or deny your feelings
• Not accepting responsibility and accountability for your feelings.
How to increase Self-Compassion
Self-compassion as defined by Dr Neff (www.self-compassion.org) has 3 components to it; mindfulness, common humanity and being kind to yourself.
Mindfulness is about taking a neutral stance to your feelings. It is about becoming aware of your thoughts and feelings. Mindfulness is about recognizing your feelings and thoughts without trying to suppress or deny them. So rather than running from the pain that may be troubling you, mindfulness asks that you face your feelings in a non-judgmental way and use it as a catalyst for change. Use your misery as motivation for self-improvement. Find out what you are doing wrong and change your behavior.
Common humanity, is the understanding that your feelings and experiences are not completely unique and that all humans will go through hardships. It is recognizing that you are not the only one with this problem. By acknowledging that we as “humans,” will all go through some form of suffering or hardship and to recognize that there is always someone worse off than you.
Being kind to yourself is not only providing comfort in the moment; it is also committing, whenever possible, to reducing future instances of such suffering. When you are kind to yourself, you teach others around you to be kind.
In order to succeed in life you must also learn to embrace failure. Failure is not avoidable and it is not objective. Remember failure definition starts with the thoughts in our mind. We are the only ones who get to define what failure is. Change your focus from what you cannot do to what you can do, from what .Pay attention to your thoughts, because you become what you believe.
Leave the Path of Self-Pity for the Path of Self-Compassion and Positive Action