Self-Compassion: A Practical Guide

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by Lynda Wallace

If you could develop one new skill, habit, or regular practice this year, what would it be?

I’m going to suggest one that you may not have thought of — self-compassion. Of all of the skills, habits, and practices I’ve worked on with clients over the years, it’s one I’ve seen have particularly profound effects, often in surprising ways.

 

What is Self-Compassion?

Self-compassion is the practice of nudging aside our self-critical thoughts and replacing them with thoughts that are more understanding — and ultimately much more helpful. It’s a way of treating ourselves that not only can make us feel a whole lot better, but can actually help us to more successfully pursue a wide variety of practical goals as well.

To understand what self-compassion is, it can help to compare it to something most of us are more familiar with: self-esteem.

Self-esteem is a matter of how we think about ourselves. Self-compassion is about how we treat ourselves. They’re both important; they’re just two different things. Self-compassion isn’t about convincing ourselves that we are good enough; it’s about treating ourselves with the understanding and kindness we need in order to thrive.

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