The Importance of Self-Compassion
- Gemma Gladstone
- January 22, 2016
Self-compassion is a human imperative. Self-compassion is the ability to look at ourselves with loving kindness. It is also the ability to acknowledge and accept all parts of the self and then to decide which parts might need to be healed, let go of, improved upon or changed in some way.
Self-compassion is about loving and accepting your vulnerability and loving and caring about your own suffering as well as that of others. Instead of disowning the parts we don’t like or want to forget (because they are linked to pain and suffering), we need to accept their existence and be kind to them.
How to practice self-compassion
Try remembering a time in your life that was difficult, then get an image or memory of yourself at that time. Think about how you felt at that time and while doing so, put you hand on your heart and say “I care about my suffering”.
Say the mantra several times until you really start to feel it. Imagine yourself as you are now, giving that part of you a hug and reassuring that part by saying how much you care about them and what they went through.
Impermanence is at the heart of love and compassion. When we truly see and know impermanence we can fully experience mind-body love and compassion. Knowing at the deepest level that nothing is ‘forever’, that everything passes, changes or fades is a real gift. When we have this we can experience the deepest appreciation for what is present in the moment before it fades.
So impermanence and compassion are inherently connected. The concept and acceptance of our own impermanence can help us turn towards self-compassion. So don’t be tempted to waste time with ill will towards yourself, by getting hung up upon your faults or failings. Instead, try to collect all parts of yourself and see what is really there through the lense of loving kindness to yourself and what you have suffered in the past.