Sometimes, it’s a lot easier to be mean to ourselves than it is to other people. It can take us a lot longer to forgive ourselves too. We usually have an understanding and compassionate voice towards the people we care about, and might struggle with developing one for ourselves.
But life can be hard. By acknowledging this and committing to relieve our distress, we can start to develop self compassion.
So, what’s a self compassionate voice?
Well, according to research, there are different elements of compassion, and how you act towards different people, including yourself, might be different.
💕 Care for wellbeing: wanting to care for ourselves and others
👂Sensitivity: trying to pay attention to our needs and feelings
🧑🤝🧑Sympathy: to be emotionally moved, connect emotionally to yourself and others
👁️Empathy: the ability to recognize and understand the emotions of others
🧘Distress tolerance: learning that we can be open to our distress without being overwhelmed
🥰Non judgment: accepting rather than judging
To develop your own compassionate voice, you can start by treating yourself like you treat others. Know the saying “treat others the way you want to be treated”? Well, many of us take that as “treat others well”. That’s great, but what if we started treating ourselves like we treated others.
Try this exercise from Compassion Focused Therapy!
Step 1: Think of someone you really care about. Maybe your grandma, a partner, or your best friend.
Step 2: Now take a moment to think about how you speak to this person. Do you tell them you love them? Or maybe even acknowledge their strengths and accept their weaknesses as okay? It might sound a lot different than some of the stuff you might say to yourself.
Step 3: Now, imagine treating them the same way you talk to yourself and thinking about what might happen. Try calling them the same names you call yourself when you’ve done something you’re not delighted with. Would they want to spend as much time with you? How would they feel?
🐧 Do you have more useful tools and resources to help your recovery journey or want to contribute one of your own? Let us know!
Gilbert, P. (2014). The origins and nature of compassion focused therapy. The British journal of clinical psychology, 53 1, 6-41 .