Self-compassion

BY: Julius Mawuli Ziorklui and Kiran Balani

IN our world today, it seems that most people have become experts at giving out pieces of advice. And this cuts across all spheres of our daily lives. 

Right from matters of relationship, finances, spirituality through to health. If you want to see for yourself, pay attention to shows, or social media platforms where people put out their issues and seek counsel.

You will be amazed at the depth of wisdom that people have. The irony is that these same people who have all the “how tos” are the same people who do not use the wisdom they have when it comes to matters relating to their life.

For example, you’ll get a person telling someone going through a difficult time: “Do this, don’t do this, say this, don’t say this” but when they go through a similar issue, they forget about all that they know.

But why is this so? I guess it’s always easier said than done. In passing, studies have shown that giving advice does not only benefit the recipient but the giver also.

According to psychology, those who give advice unconsciously feel influential. In my experience, I have had the opportunity to talk to people who had some challenges; I realised people could be very mean to themselves.
Usually, I will let us role play by asking them to imagine their best friend was facing their exact challenge.

 

I will further ask them to advise their best friend. It is usually a delight to hear these people speak. They say all the nice things and then I ask them why they don’t say these things to themselves but there’s usually no answer.

It has proven that when we are confronted with struggles, we tend to pity ourselves, self-blame and spend all our time wondering what life would be like if our actions were different.

These are things that we refrain from doing to our friends and family; we usually rush to console them with compassion because we believe kindness comes first. However, we treat ourselves in a completely opposite manner.

It is so easy to beat ourselves up for the things that happen to us that we completely forget to treat ourselves with humanity and compassion.
Self-compassion starts by acceptance of the situation we are in regardless of what the situation is and how it was brought about.

Instead of being angry with ourselves, we should treat ourselves like the human that we are; with kindness and positive acceptance. Self-compassion does not alleviate our pain. Painful experiences cannot be ignored.

Self-compassion helps us to accept that our moment is painful, whilst responding to ourselves with kindness and care, remembering that imperfection is a part of being human.

“If only we could see the endless string of consequences that result from our smallest actions. But we can't know better until knowing better is useless.”

This was written by one of my favourite authors, John Green. This stuck with me and resonated with me strongly.

 


Often, we tend to blame ourselves for not being able to foresee painful events and wrong decisions, and in the process, we forget our humanness which did not give us the ability to see the future.

During these times, remind yourself to be kind to yourself. Hug yourself, hold yourself, cry to yourself, and allow yourself to be compassionate and kind to the one that could not have known better.

While self-compassion is not as easy and beautiful as it sounds, it is definitely important and one of the new ways of relating to ourselves.

Research has shown that self-compassion significantly increases life-satisfaction and decreases anxiety, depression and stress.
Treat yourself like you would a friend. A healthy and fruitful relationship with yourself starts now.