6 Ways to Invite Self-Compassion into Your Life

compassion hugDriving anxiety and fears may come banging uninvited into your life, but you can give them the boot if you extend an invitation to another fellow. His name is self-compassion. He’s kind. He’s gentle. And, as we outlined in our post How Self-Compassion Can Help Alleviate Driving Fears, he can help you kick out the unwanted guests of driving anxiety, phobias and fears.

In its simplest sense, self-compassion is the art of loving and treating yourself the same way you love and treat your favorite family members and your best friends.

The problem is, self-compassion is not around much. Not because he’s a bad fellow to have around, but because he’s a tough fellow for many of us to cultivate or invite on in. Many of us are instead used to the habit of self-depreciation, self-judging and self-abuse, not the habit of giving our own souls a hug.

A lineup of tips can change all that with methods to make self-compassion a daily and integral part of our lives. Ready? 

Set a Foundation of Self-Care

Cultivating self-compassion starts with a firm foundation of self-care. After all, you can’t very well say you’re being very compassionate toward yourself if you don’t let yourself enjoy the basics. These include adequate sleep, daily relaxation time, some form of daily physical activity, and plenty of healthy food and water to keeps your body hydrated and fueled with nutrients.

“Taking care of these needs allows me to bring energy and light to my life,” life coach Mara Glatzel tells PsychCentral. 

Stop the Blame Game

As curious creatures, we humans are often poking around to find out the reason why some things are the way they are. As curious creatures who often want instant answers, we can find the easiest response is to blame ourselves. Self-blame particularly likes to crop up when we think about our perceived flaws, such as driving fears, as if having those fears is somehow our fault.

As Tiny Buddha writer Alex Keats tell us:

“The truth is you’re not to blame for your anxiety, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t responsible for it.” Keats adds, “You aren’t ‘crazy’ or ‘weak’ – and you’re no less worthy a human being for experiencing it, either.” 

Keats does point out two more important points when it comes to shucking off self-blame. He says to:

  • Work with yourself, not against yourself, and stop wrongly condemning yourself for something you did not even create
  • Remember that, even though you are not to blame for your fears, you are responsible for how you handle those fears and whether or not you remain in a pit of suffering

Embrace Your Emotions

The blame game can come creeping in when it comes to emotions, as well, and you can kick it out once again by letting yourself feel whatever emotions pop to the surface. A bad habit is telling yourself you “should” feel a certain way about a certain thing and then punishing yourself if you don’t. Heck with that. Allow yourself to experience any emotion that crops up, freely and without punishing yourself, the same way you let a friend cry on your shoulder without judging or condemning the tears.   

Melt the Snowball Effect

The snowball effect bowls us over into a self-piteous state of wallowing, and it can start off with even the smallest thing. Let’s say you get a scratch on your car. Instead of focusing on a way to fix it, the snowball effect instead ensures you use that scratch as a starting point to beat yourself up with a litany of woes.

You got a scratch on the car so, you think, you must be a horrible driver (even though the scratch came from some kid riding too close to your parked car on his bicycle). Your horrible driver status, you say, comes from your driving fears, which stem from your inability to face anything, which stems from your whole inadequacy and horribleness as a human being.

While none of the above may be true, the snowball can build up quite quickly, smashing us down into a state of suffering and misery. Melt out the snowball by stopping your thoughts when you feel the ball start to roll, switching your focus to the positive things about yourself and your life.

Watch What You Say and How You Say It

As a person who is compassionate toward others, you probably already watch what you say to other people. To best practice self-compassion, you also need to watch what you say to yourself. Your internal dialogue can be a mean one, indeed, baiting you into building a giant snowball or otherwise beating yourself up at every turn.

The same holds true when you are facing a challenge, which you may immediately peg as some “horrible, insurmountable” task. Worse yet, you may peg yourself as a failure if you’re not up to meeting the challenge at the moment.

Reframing your thoughts about yourself and your challenges can work wonders, author and educator Rosie Moinary told PsychCentral. Instead of thinking of a challenge as a negative thing, for instance, reframe your thoughts to view it as a neutral thing, a task that’s in front of you to work though. Better yet, reframe it into a positive thing as a way to gauge your existing talents and skills.

“Start paying careful attention to what you say and how you say it and take the time to always reframe what you say into something more positive, supportive, and true,” Molinary says. 

Put it all into Perspective

Sure, you may be having a bad day, but don’t forget that everyone has a bad day once in awhile. You are not alone in your driving fears, either. Nor are you the only person on earth who has experienced suffering.

“…[T]he recognition that just as you suffer, so do others can help you put your own discomfort into perspective, and perhaps you’ll realize it’s not such a big deal after all,” according to WildMind.org. 



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