Self-Compassion in Daily Life
(this practice is based on teachings in the
Mindful Self-Compassion training)
While self-compassion involves reflection and a kind of mind training, it is also an active, practical practice. Acting with self-compassion means that you recognize when you are under stress, and you respond with care and kindness.
There actually are many ways that you already practice self-compassion, and it can be helpful to remember to recognize them. One of the things the inner critic often judges is our ability to take care of ourselves. However, you wouldn't have lived this long if you couldn't take care of yourself.
Rather than making a list of all the things you need to do differently or more of to take better care of yourself, start by recognizing what you are already doing. It can be easy to overlook all the ways that you practice self-care, and to just focus on how you aren't doing as much as you could.
Take a few moments and think about the things you do each day that express and reflect a sense of care for yourself. This might include really basic, pragmatic things that you don't even think about like, brushing your teeth, taking a shower, taking out the recycling, going to the dentist for a check-up, paying bills on time, or making sure your cupboards are stocked.
Here are a few other categories to consider:
Physically ~ exercise, stretching, yoga, massage, warm bath, cup of tea, eat a nice meal, drink a glass of water when you're thirsty, take a nap, walk around the block, hug a loved one
Mentally ~ meditation, watch a funny movie or tv show, read an inspiring or funny book or article, take a class, do a crossword puzzle or sudoku, listen to music you like
Emotionally ~ pet your dog or cat, journal, cook, go to therapy, garden/take care of plants
Relationally ~ meet with friends, send a birthday card, write a letter, play a game
Spiritually ~ pray, walk in the woods or in a park, help others, spend time by the ocean,
Creatively ~ write, draw, paint, photography, play music, knitting, sewing, make crafts
This practice is not meant to make you feel guilty about the things that you aren't doing, but rather to help you recognize what you are doing, and to let that register more fully.
It's important to really see what you are already doing to relate to yourself with kindness. The simple, everyday things you do count just as much as the mind-training exercises and meditations that you might do to more consciously cultivate self-compassion. See if you can recognize your everyday acts of self-compassion.