Imagine a close friend who comes to you in some distress, and tells you they’re struggling and feeling bad about themself. How do you respond to your friend? What kind of words do you use, what body language, what tone of voice?

Now, imagine yourself in similar distress, when you are struggling and feeling bad about yourself. How do you respond to yourself in that situation? What kinds of words, body language, and tone of voice do you use?

Did you notice any differences?

Research shows that most of us treat our friends with warmth and kindness, while we’re much tougher on ourselves.

What keeps us from treating ourselves like we would treat a friend?

Many of us received messages growing up that being kind to ourselves is self-indulgent, or will lower our standards. Many think that self-criticism is an effective motivator. Research shows, however, that self-compassionate people engage in healthier behaviors like exercise and eating well, are less afraid of failure, and are more likely to persist in their efforts after failing. They also have greater social connectedness, emotional intelligence, and overall life satisfaction.

8 Limbs is a firm believer in self-compassion, and will host two upcoming events to support us in developing this practice:

  1. Joel Grow, PhD. (pictured) and Hanna Kreiner, LCSW will offer a Mindful Self-Compassion course at 8 Limbs starting October 6. Click here for more information.
  2. The 28 Day Commitment is focused on Compassion this year! Join us in for daily practice in February!

Rather than “letting ourselves off the hook”, self-compassion allows us to acknowledge and validate the current difficulty, and offer ourselves support in the moment, like we would for a dear friend. Fortunately, self-compassion is a skill we can learn and develop!

Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) is an evidence-based 8-week class developed by Drs. Kristin Neff and Chris Germer. The course includes a number of exercises and practices to develop the 3 components of self-compassion: 1) Mindfulness, which allows us to simply observe our thoughts and feelings in the moment: “Oh, I’m irritated and have muscle tension in my shoulders”; 2) Common humanity, recognizing that imperfection and difficulty is a part of the shared human experience; and 3) Self-kindness, which involves being warm toward ourselves when we struggle, rather than ignoring our feelings or judging ourselves harshly.

Self-compassion can be a better catalyst for positive change than adding more guilt and self-criticism on ourselves.

Posted by: 8 Limbs

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