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Life Is Not Always What We Expect…

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On taking care of yourself and others: Compassion (life is worth waking up for, be kind)

Compassion is 1 of the most important qualities humans posses. It is the ability to feel and show empathy and extend kindness to those who need comfort in times of distress or need.

But, when confronted with our own personal challenges and failings we should show the same support and understanding to ourselves as we do for others.

In life, things do not always happen the way we expect or want. Often we are met with frustrations, make mistakes, or fall short of our expectation, that is a part of being human and it is OK.

In that state many needlessly judge and are harsh on themselves. The result is self-worth takes a hit and negative consequences can follow.

The Big Q: How to change, go inward and be compassionate to oneself?

The Big A: Kristin Neff, a researcher and author of Self-Compassion, believes that self-compassion is showing the same compassion to oneself as you would a friend.

She defines it in 3 elements, as follows:

Self-kindness Vs Self-judgement

Self-compassion involves being kind and understanding to ourselves, when we feel inadequate. It is also important to recognize that we are imperfect beings, therefore there is no reason to berate ourselves when life does not happen to our expectations.

Common humanity Vs Isolation

None of us are alone in our mistakes, we all make them. Recognize that we are all vulnerable and imperfect, as it is a part of the shared human experience.

Mindfulness Vs Over-Identification

Take a balanced approach when it comes to negative feelings as these should neither be suppressed nor exaggerated. Be willing to observe negative emotions and feelings with openness and a sense of balance.

Studies report that there is a positive correlation between self-compassion and psychological well-being, which includes less anxiety, fear of failure, and shame. It also shows that self-compassion is also connected to greater emotional intelligence, happiness, and overall life satisfaction.

Below is a guide on how to start practicing self-compassion in your life.

Make mindfulness a habit

Practice non-judgmental self-awareness by becoming more aware and balanced regarding your thoughts and feelings. When your critical inner voice starts to speak, try not to get caught up in negatives you can inflict on yourself. Instead, try to progress, and not wallow, in these messages and think constructively about how these thoughts may be actually trying to either protect or motivate you.

You are not alone

The hardest part about practicing self-compassion is giving ourselves the benefit of the doubt. We can be our own worst enemies. We often think we are the only ones in the world dealing with certain issues, but it is simply not true. Recognize how universal some problems are and that you are not alone; be open to talking with friends, loved ones or professionals. It will help.

You have the permission to be imperfect

No 1 is perfect, and we should not expect ourselves to be. Give yourself a break and recognize that, fundamentally, self-compassion is about self-love. Accept who you are unconditionally and embrace that mistakes can and will happen. We are all human.

Be kind to yourself

Begin to relate to yourself with kindness and perspective. Think about how far you have come or achieved. Understand that just because you made a bad choice, you are not a bad person. Give yourself the benefit of the doubt and another chance, just like you would advise others.

Build a support system

Whether you decide to seek guidance or to confide in someone close to you, make sure it is in a environment that makes you feel safe.

Sometimes talking with someone else can help you to recognize your feelings and to develop a more realistic and useful perspective of yourself. 

An important Key to remember is that self-compassion is neither selfish or indulgent. It is important for your emotional well-being and it is critical to not only being able to take care of yourself, but also to take care of others.

Eat healthy, Be healthy, Live lively

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