Community//

How to Foster Self-Compassion

Self-compassion is key to greater happiness and healthy personal growth. Read on to learn how to develop this essential trait.

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team, and though they are reviewed for adherence to our guidelines, they are submitted in their final form to our open platform. Learn more or join us as a community member!

When you’re able to practice self compassion, the thoughts you have towards yourself are positive and encouraging. You’re able to forgive, accept, and love yourself for exactly who you are in this moment. You show yourself kindness and understanding when you fail and show yourself the support you would offer anyone else going through the same situation.

Where Does Self Compassion Come From?

So many of us are the meanest people we know to ourselves. We would never dare say the things we think about ourselves to another person, yet we have no problem saying them to ourselves. When we recognize that these thoughts are optional and that hate and loathing is a choice, we can practice thinking in a way that will build us up instead of tear us down. But first, we have to pay attention to the thoughts we’re thinking.

Your thoughts about yourself are not established by anyone other than you. As humans, we tend to believe we’re not good enough or that other human beings are better than us. In our mind, we have a list of areas we fall short. We fail to show ourselves the compassion needed to get back up and try again whenever we fail.

In order to change our thoughts, we have to make sure the thoughts we have about ourselves are conscious. Be in the space of knowing who you are and how you show up for yourself. If you aren’t as thin as you want to be, recognize where you are today and accept it. You can still make changes in your life to lose weight and achieve the results you want to achieve, but this doesn’t make you any less worthy today than you may be six months from now. You are, and always will be, 100% worthy.

The Negative Effects of Self Deprecating Thoughts

Self loathing and self deprecating is not something that’s inevitable. It’s a choice that you make every single time you think something about yourself. Self deprecation creates a negative emotion (because our thoughts create our feelings) that pushes us to take action that perpetuates that emotion (because our feelings create our actions).

Let’s revisit that last sentence. When you have a negative thought about yourself, it causes you to feel sad, worthless, depressed, and frustrated. Because we know that our feelings are responsible for our actions, these feelings create negative results like overeating, overdrinking, procrastinating, overspending, etc. This is also known as buffering—when we use external factors in an attempt to make us feel better. On the other hand, when you’re able to manage your thoughts of self deprecation, you will see incredible results and be able to achieve even your biggest goals.

How to Practice and Develop Self Compassion

In order to achieve the goals we have in our life, self compassion is absolutely essential. We must learn how to love ourselves—shortcomings and all—in order to grow. A great way to do this is to ask yourself how you would treat a friend going through the same thing. Would you berate them and point out all the areas they fell short or show compassion and support? 

Another exercise you can do to help recognize when you’re having self deprecating thoughts is to filter your thoughts so that you think about yourself the way you would your child or a puppy. You would never say, “Oh my gosh, my child is so dumb.” Yet, for some reason, that’s a common thought people think about themselves. You would never look at a picture of your puppy and think about how bad the angle is or how chubby your puppy looks in the picture. You would just unconditionally love that picture of your puppy.

You can also practice self compassion and self love by writing down 12 things that you appreciate about yourself. You may find that you don’t necessarily believe these thoughts yet and that it’s easier to come up with things you don’t appreciate about yourself than things you do, but that’s what makes this exercise so effective. You’re forcing your brain to think thoughts it doesn’t naturally want to think.

Learning to look at yourself in a way that is different than you have in the past is the first step toward self compassion. Start appreciating yourself and see how that impacts the results in your life. Don’t be afraid to recognize when you are self deprecating and remind yourself that, no matter where you think you are falling short, you are 100% worthy just as you are today.

    Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

    You might also like...

    Community//

    6 Ways to Be Nicer to Yourself — During the Pandemic, or Anytime

    by Julie Potiker
    Well-Being//

    Self-Compassion: The New Self-Esteem for Women

    by Alexandra Jamieson
    Healthy Habits with Dr Heather McKee
    Community//

    The Kindness Habit

    by Dr Heather McKee

    Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

    Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

    Thrive Global
    People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

    - MARCUS AURELIUS

    We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.