Some things that we need to do are just plain yucky. They make us feel bad.
→ Self-compassion increases our tolerance for the bad feelings, so that we can do what we need to do.
→ Self-compassion leads to greater productivity.
But self-compassion isn’t so easy to muster, at least not for many of us. So what to do? Well, here’s my theory: We fake it. That’s right. My theory is that you don’t have to sincerely feel self-compassionate. You just have to pretend. And guess what happens when you pretend that you respect yourself as a member of the human race and that you don’t deserve to be self-flagellated? You start to actually believe it!
It’s often said that motivation follows action. For many tasks, you only feel motivated to do them after you actually start doing them. The feeling state of motivation needs to be coaxed out, through action. My theory is that self-compassion works the same way. The state of truly feeling compassion for yourself may not come until you start acting with compassion toward yourself.
So what are some ways to act self-compassionate?
- Take care of yourself. You need sleep, healthy food, movement, hygiene, and whatever activity it is that nourishes your spirit. If you have a physical or mental health condition, you may also need appropriate medication and/or treatment.
- Appreciate your efforts, regardless of the results.
- Speak to yourself as you would speak to a beloved friend in distress.
- Seek truth when connecting with others. Ask questions, don’t assume.
- Ask for help when you need it.
These are just my ideas, and I don’t think there’s any harm in trying them. If you want the real stuff, based in actual science, Dr. Kristen Neff has a wonderful website where you can learn all about the benefits of self-compassion and how to practice it.
What actions help you feel more self-compassionate?