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Developing self love and compassion is a practice that takes patience and daily effort. I’m sorry to say that there’s not a quick fix that gets us there overnight. For most, especially those of us with perfectionist tendencies and loud inner critics it’s a lifelong journey, with a few inevitable setbacks along the way. That said, never let those hurdles stop you.
It’s a path that I walk daily and while I appreciate that we all have our own challenges to overcome, I wanted to share a few of the things that I find helpful in the hope that it inspires you in some small way...
In essence self compassion is showing yourself the same love and understanding that you would for someone else. Sounds simple, right? But, it’s quite rare for most of us to do. Most often, we berate ourselves for not being smart enough, qualified enough or for past life choices. We let our inner critics take the wheel and suffer the cruel words that it dishes out on a daily basis; words that we would never use when speaking to someone else. Sound familiar? Next time you hear critical self talk, visualise it with volume control...and turn it down. Try replacing the words with something more kind and supportive, I like to repeat my favourite mantras or a positive affirmation.
Focus on Your Strengths
In a culture where we’re encouraged to focus on where we’re lacking and try and improve our weaknesses it feels liberating to do the opposite. Take as much time as you can to sit and think this through; what are you good at, what have you already overcome in this lifetime, what are your proudest moments? Acknowledging your strengths might feel uncomfortable at first, especially if you’ve never done it before but stay in the moment and see what comes up for you. I’m sure you’ll be surprised at the things you can add to your list.
I was first introduced to EFT (emotional freedom technique) over a decade ago while visiting a local mind, body and spirit event. Also called ‘tapping’ it stimulates your body’s energy meridian points by tapping on them with your fingertips; using your own energy to heal both mind and body. For a few years, I practised on and off but I believe that this kind of work is like visiting the gym; if you don’t practise regularly then it’s a challenge to see any lasting results. A few years ago, I made it part of my morning routine, it typically takes 5-10 minutes) and the results have been amazing! I’ve tackled so many of the negative thought patterns that my mind often defaulted to! To get started, you don’t really need to know anything...just have faith and follow the scripts - you’ll find some great intro videos on YouTube...I personally love Brad Yates videos. Of course for more in depth or personalised work you can seek out an EFT practitioner.
Mindfulness and Meditation
Many of our negative and critical thought patterns have been running on auto pilot since we were children and so they can be a challenge to identify in our daily lives. Observation is the key and this is where mindfulness and meditation can come in handy. Both practices help to slow down our racing thoughts and create space around them. This makes it easier to spot the negative patterns when they arise. And when you find them you can set about changing them. This can be done in so many ways, some of which I’ve mentioned in this post but it’s important to find what feels right and so I encourage you to do a little research of your own too.
Create Daily Support
They’ll be times when you don’t feel like showing yourself the kindness and compassion that you deserve and so it helps to have a plan in place for those days. Keep it simple, I like to use the following questions to get my mind moving in the right direction…
How can I support myself today?
How can I show myself kindness?
What makes me feel loved?
Lastly, celebrate yourself. So often we wait for outside validation, someone to tell us that we’ve done a great job or buy us a gift to express their love. Don’t wait for someone else to tell you how amazing you are. Create time to celebrate and appreciate yourself. Treat yourself in anyway that feels right...it could be a few quiet moments of gratitude, a bunch of your favourite flowers, a longer yoga class than usual or a chilled glass of bubbles..the choice is yours!
When it comes to self love and compassion, I know that these are just the tip of the iceberg. But, I hope that it’s inspired you to think about how much love and self compassion you show yourself and how differently you’d feel if you could applify it...even a little.
AUTHOR: LEANNA DOOLIN
Co – Founder of holistic skincare brand, Pure Thoughts and advocate for women finding pause in their day to breathe deeply, give thanks and reconnect to what matters. Loves early mornings, dogs and books that you can’t put down.