How to Practice Self-Compassion
You may have heard it from a friend, a family member, or your therapist: be kinder to yourself. For many people, this is easier said than done. Negative self-talk can be automatic, and shifting into positive self-talk can feel unnatural. Building self-compassion takes time, but here are some tips for laying the foundation for yourself:
Notice negative self-talk: Sometimes we don’t recognize the internal judgment or criticism that we tend to express towards ourselves. The first step in changing this dialogue is increasing awareness of when it is happening. Notice if there are any patterns around your negative self talk; do you tend to criticize yourself for the same types of things?
Think of how you would treat a friend: Most of the time, we would not talk to other people the way that we talk to ourselves. Ask yourself: if you had a friend going through the same thing, what would you say to them? See if you can reflect your own compassion and kindness back towards yourself.
Practice, practice, practice: Changing our internal dialogue takes time. Sometimes people become self-critical for not being self-compassionate enough! Be patient with yourself as you build up your practice of self-compassion.
Bethany Kriegel, LMHC, earned her master’s degree in mental health counseling from Boston College. She has experience working with adults in residential treatment settings, helping those struggling with eating disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder, among other issues.
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