How to Cultivate Self Love and Compassion

Posted by Leanna 01/02/2021 0 Comment(s)


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 of us - especially those with perfectionist tendencies and loud inner critics - it’s a lifelong journey, with inevitable setbacks along the way. That said, we must never let those hurdles stop us. 

It’s a path that I walk daily, and I’m always learning. I know that we all have our challenges to overcome, but I wanted to share a few things that help me, in the hope that they inspire you to cultivate more self-love and compassion in your life too...     

Cultivate Kindness 
In essence, self-compassion is showing yourself the same love and understanding that you would for someone else. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? But, it’s not something that many of us do. Most often, we berate ourselves for not being smart enough, qualified enough or for making mistakes. We let our inner critics take the wheel and suffer its cruel words; words that we’d 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 - right down until it’s nothing more than a whisper. Then replace those words with something more kind and supportive; I like to repeat my favourite mantras or a positive affirmation.       

Focus on Your Strengths
We live in a culture that encourages us to focus on what we lack and to spend our time improving our weaknesses; it feels liberating to do the opposite and concentrate on your strengths. Take time to think about what you’re good at, what you’ve learnt in this lifetime, revisit your proudest moments and think about what you love most about yourself. 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.    


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Practice EFT
I was first introduced to EFT (emotional freedom technique) over a decade ago while visiting a local mind, body and spirit event. It’s often called ‘tapping’, and it stimulates your body’s energy meridian points by tapping on them with your fingertips; using your energy to heal both mind and body. I studied it for a while but didn’t make it a consistent part of my day until a few years ago when I added it to my morning ritual. It typically only takes me 5-10 minutes to do and it’s helped me tackle many of my default negative thought patterns. It’s easy to get started - simply have faith and follow the actions and scripts - you’ll find some great intro videos on YouTube...I personally love Brad Yates videos. Of course, for more personalised and in-depth work you can seek out a local EFT practitioner.    

Mindfulness and Meditation  
Many of our negative and critical thought patterns have been running on autopilot since we were children, and so they can be a challenge to identify in our daily lives. Observation is the key though and 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 negative patterns when they arise. When you find them, you can set about changing them. You can do this in 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 
It helps to have a plan in place for those days when you struggle to show yourself the kindness and compassion you deserve. 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?


Create a list of simple things that help you feel loved and supported. It could include taking time to enjoy your favourite hot drink, using your softest bed linen, taking time to create a healthy meal, making time to meditate. Starting small has always worked for me, and I encourage you to begin where you can to bring more self-love and compassion into your life.       

Celebrate yourself  
Lastly, celebrate yourself. We often wait for outside validation; someone to praise our work or buy us a gift to express their love. You don’t need anyone else to tell you how wonderful you are. Create time to celebrate and appreciate yourself. Write down everything that you’re celebrating and then treat yourself - that could be a few quiet moments spent in gratitude, a bunch of your favourite flowers, a longer yoga class than usual or a chilled glass of bubbles...the choice is yours!       

I hope that these simple tips have inspired you to think about how you approach self-love and compassion in your life and how much more supported you’d feel if you could amplify them both - even just 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.

      
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