During the holiday season, we focus on compassion, kindness, giving to and helping others. What we leave out is being compassionate to ourselves. The absence of self compassion can result in high levels of stress, depression, disrupted sleep patterns, digestive problems and low self esteem. It is the thing that often leads to wishing that the holidays would be over.
So, what is Self Compassion exactly? Despite common beliefs, it is not self pity, self serving, self indulgent or self centered. It necessitates mindfulness (recognizing our suffering) and moving beyond that to embracing the experience (i.e. ourselves) with warmth, tenderness and support. It recognizes imperfection as part of the human condition. When we fall into the trap of believing things “should” be a certain way and life should be “perfect” or we should be “perfect,” we are continually comparing ourselves to others in order to build our self esteem at the expense of theirs. We do this through blaming, shaming, criticizing and bullying and it leaves us feeling depleted and isolated.
Teaching ourselves to be self-compassionate enables us to be more compassionate with others. Take the time to learn more about how to practice self-compassion, it is the best gift you will get. Visit self-compassion.org to learn more.