Self-Compassion – Feel the (Self) Love!

There are so many benefits to practicing self-compassion, these are simple everyday practices to help you love yourself!

Self-compassion, self-love or loving kindness is a tough one to grasp, when you have always been your worst critic.

I discovered self-compassion only a few years ago, when doing a free mindfulness course on Future Learn.  To me, self-compassion is to give yourself understanding, love and self-acceptance, it is about turning off that critical inner voice and listening to that compassionate understanding voice inside you.  It feels good to be compassionate towards your self and it really isn’t too difficult, but does take regular practice.  Unfortunately, I don’t always practice this on a regular basis, but it is on my daily good habits wishlist.

What is Self-Compassion?

Feeling compassion for anyone is to understand and empathise with that person, to take it a step further you may show that person compassion by talking empathetically with them, showing them you understand their pain, trying to help them or simply giving them a great big hug.  At times when we are feeling low, there is nothing like a genuine hug, it tells us that the person hugging us understands our feelings and above all accepts us, this can give us great comfort in that moment.  So, to be able to give ourselves that kind of comfort when we most need it, is quite something, unfortunately, we often don’t do that because we have learned to punish ourselves by criticizing either what we have done or haven’t or simply shaming ourselves for our flaws or feelings.

Benefits of Self-Compassion

The feeling of self-love is compounding, it continues to grow and makes you feel relaxed, calm, and self accepting.  Would you treat others as badly as you treat yourself? No, so why punish yourself with your negative self talk.  The thing is, when you practice self-compassion, you find yourself being more compassionate towards others, so they benefit too.  Once your physical body is taking care of, one of the best things you can do for your wellbeing is to practice self-compassion.

Self-Compassion Practices

Meditation

My favourite practice is mindful meditation specifically for self-compassion, guided ones are the best for beginners, doing meditations really helps you to focus on love and compassion towards yourself.  We are human and therefore all make mistakes, self-compassion helps you accept those mistakes regardless of what the consequences were and only by accepting how you feel can you move on to the self-love part.

Apps are a great way to start, You Tube is also great for free meditations, both guided and non-guided and there are plenty specifically for self-compassion, some are short, 10 minutes for example, others are 9 hours for whilst you are asleep, these are subliminal.  My favourite Apps are Calm and Headspace, there are some free guided meditations if you don’t want to subscribe to them or just want to test them out.

If you are in a bad place right now, I recommend practicing daily, even for just 5 minutes, but preferably 10.  If you have no time at all, do a sleep meditation, everyone has to sleep.  Even a daily minute of self-love practice is better than none.

Self-Care

I include self-care as a practice for self compassion, self care makes you feel good about yourself and it can include anything that makes you feel good.  I have regular self-care days which include a long soak in the bath, usually with Epsom Salts (for detoxing) or Himalayan Salts (for relaxation) which leaves you with the softest skin.  I make sure I soak between 20-40 minutes to absorb the benefits of the salts.  Whilst I am lying there so long I do some mindful meditation.

Other things I do are giving myself a facial; double cleansing, face mask, essential oils (patchouli) this is my favourite and its good for aging skin too.  I don’t know what it is about this oil, but for me it gives me a huge sense of self-love and calm, funnily enough when I first used I wasn’t keen on it, but it is my favourite now.  If I want to feel good after a bath I put this on my face, neck and chest, it instantly makes me feel safe and cosy.  Everyone is different, so trial some, you can get 10ml bottles to try them out, find the oil that works for you, do your research though, some oils are not recommended to put directly on your skin without a carrier oil.

I will body brush, do my nails, deep condition my hair with ‘Bleach London Silver Conditioner‘ by leaving it on at least 1 hour, usually whilst I am in the bath, lather myself in my favourite vegan ‘Lavera‘ body lotion and put something comfortable on, then sit and read a book.  I would do these things everyday if I could, but as you know when your working you simply don’t have the time, but make sure you do at least once a week, your mind will thank you for it.

Journaling

Journaling helps with self-awareness, thus bringing out the empathy and understanding  you need to be compassionate towards yourself.

I love to write things down, if I am struggling with something, if I am angry  with myself or others, I tend to write down my feelings, but I try to do it from a sympathetic perspective. Rather than express just my anger, I will write down how I feel  and then try to write something about understanding why that person did or said what they said, not to justify their actions but to understand them.  This really helps me to not hold on to  negative emotions, so that when I see that person again I feel more compassionate towards them, which in turn makes me feel good.  Anger  hurts ourselves, more than anyone else.

Final Thoughts

We all suffer in one way or another, we can’t always escape what life throws at us, the best we can do is accept unavoidable suffering in order to minimize it, practicing self-compassion is one way of doing this. Go love yourself, you deserve it!

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How To Achieve Your Goals

These are the processes and tools I use to achieve my goals, all of which I consider to be key to making changes in your life!

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How To Make Your Goals Achievable!

(The processes and tools needed to achieve your goals)

 

Wow, goals, we all have them, but many of us don’t achieve them, why?

I have just read ‘The 12 Week Year’  by Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington,  and am about to use the accompanying ‘The 12 Week Year Workbook’ and feel this may just be the book that inspires me to achieve my goals.  Of course, I haven’t implemented all the strategies in the book yet, give me a chance, but I have done my first 12 Week Year Plan and have to say, I have already completed one of my 12 week goals in just over one week.

Here are my Top 8 tips for achieving your goals, I hope you find them useful:

1.  The Written Word  

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There is something about the written word that makes it feel real, when I hand write something I feel the emotions as I write, whereas when I type, no matter what I type it just doesn’t bring as much emotion to the content.  Try this brief exercise, type out ‘I Love   You …… ‘ whilst thinking of someone you love, typing their name after ‘You’.  Now hand write the same phrase, see the difference in your emotions.  When you hand write, you ‘feel’ what you are writing about.  So, when you write down your goals, feel the emotions that you may feel   when your goals are achieved.

2.  Know Your ‘Why’

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If you have a particular goal because it will impress others, think again, if it impresses you, then you are on the right track.  The reason behind each goal is vital, it has to be what YOU want to achieve, what fills you with emotion, passion and a desire you want so bad it fires you up inside.  The thought of achieving that goal may even bring tears to your eyes, that’s a good thing.

3.  Know Your Target

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If you know the target you are aiming for, you can be more specific  about your goals.  Being specific will make it  easier to take actions that will lead you to your goal.  If your goal isn’t specific, how can your actions be specific and if your actions are too vague, you simply won’t do them.  The more detail you add to your goals, the more passion you will inspire in yourself, the more likely you are to follow through on each step it will take to achieve them.  You will have to break down every goal, I recommend doing 1 hour minimum slots if you can dedicated to one action.

4.  Limit Your Goals

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I would advise you to limit your goals, having too many goals it just not realistic.  Whilst, you can have a long-term plan with every goal you want to achieve in your lifetime, it is best to focus on one or two, definitely no more than three at a time.  This is where the 12 week year comes in useful, as over the year you can have up to twelve goals, but at any 12 week period you are only focusing on two or three.  Too many goals can feel overwhelming, feeling overwhelmed can lead to procrastination, thus you achieve nothing.

5.  The How

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Photo by Daria Nepriakhina on Unsplash

The methods you use to achieve your goals will be specific to you.  I use the ‘Deluxe Law of Attraction’ planner, ever since I got this beautiful planner, I have more clarity about the life I want and have achieved more in 6 months than in my lifetime in working towards my goals.  The concept of law of attraction, tells you not to concern yourself with the ‘how’, but I disagree, as long as your ‘why’ is clear, you can then start to plan the steps you need to take you there.  If you are not to sure of the steps, start doing some research, ideas will then flow.  Brainstorm if you need to, don’t limit yourself in this, even if an action seems impossible, write it down anyway.  Schedule time in each week and dedicate that time to taking steps, no matter how small to achieve your goal.

6. The Mindset

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This is the key to achieving every goal, you have to believe it will happen.  This can be difficult when most of us are plagued with self-doubt, but practicing self-belief will get you there, and the more you work towards your goals, the more you will believe.  If you find it hard to believe in yourself, just pretend you do, you will be surprised how over time this works.

Photo by Rachel Pfuetzner on Unsplash

7.  Resilience

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On your journey to achieving your goals, you will be met with setbacks and failures, this is normal.  Some of the greatest achievers in history, had a string of failures before succeeding, there are also many unknowns throughout history that gave up when they met with failure.  The difference between these two types of people was resilience or self-determination, the relentless trait of carrying on regardless, committing to never stopping until your goal is reached.  Harrison Ford, at the age of 24 was told by studio executives that “he would never make it in this business’. There are numerous similar stories of famous people despite rejection and failures, continued to pursue their dream.  So never ever be deterred by other people’s opinions, they are just their perceptions, they are not fact and in many cases they get it wrong.  Resilience has won wars, hearts and greatness, be that resilient person, never ever give up on your dreams.

8.  Being Flexible

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Photo by Brendan Church on Unsplash

You may find that your goals change over time or as you start working towards one, as you become more self-aware you may realise that goal is not for you.  Be flexible and don’t be discouraged if you have been working towards a goal only to realise it’s not what you truly desire or it’s not achievable (yet).  My goals have changed dramatically,  I had a goal from childhood I had dreamt about for years, only once I started to work towards it, I realised that I couldn’t achieve it from where I was in life.  So I had a re-think and changed my goal to something that was far more realistic and some levels down from my initial goal, but if achieved may help me move towards that initial goal.

Final Thoughts

If you use the above tips, with perseverance, you will move ever closer to your dreams, one cliché you really should heed is “Never give up, like never ever”!