Why is it so important to practice self-compassion?
Because doing so can help boost your happiness and reduce the likelihood of depression. Research shows that self-compassion matters even more to our personal well-being than self-esteem. Why is that? Because, ironically, self-esteem is by definition rooted in making comparisons between ourselves and others. This puts us in a constant competitive catch-up mode whereby whatever we do is never quite good enough. Self-compassion, by contrast, allows us to feel good enough no matter what.
– Self-compassion helps us get rid of our shame (result of inward blame)
– Shame creates a vicious inward downward spiral of not being good enough, and by extension not being worthy of love
– When we practice self-compassion, we liberate ourselves from this shame
So how do we bring ourselves back from this place of shame?
1) Recognize it
2) Refocus our energy
3) Restory our thoughts
4) Reclaim our power
1) Recognize that whatever brings you shame is just a story you have told yourself. It is not fact, and it does not define you. It is a story you made up a long time ago, as a child. You are no longer a child, and this story is no longer serving you. Give yourself permission to let it go.
2) Refocus. Now breathe bring yourself back to your center. Just three deep breaths shuts off our fight-or-flight response and brings us back to ourselves. You will feel calm and at peace. You will no longer find yourself in a defensive position.
3) Restory your thoughts – this is the crux of where the self-compassion comes in and how you recover from the shame. Tell yourself, “I forgive you. I was doing the best I could at the time. I can learn from this and move on.” Focus on the learning piece, and empower yourself with what you can do. If that feels like too much, and often it does, then stay with the forgiveness piece.
When I was healing from the guilt and shame of my husband’s suicide, I had to proactively practice self-compassion everyday. I started the day with a forgiveness prayer that brought me so much healing.
My simple but extremely powerful mantra is a Hawaiian Prayer called the Ho’oponopono Forgiveness Prayer, and it was given to me by a spiritual healer. It goes like this:
“I am sorry. Please forgive me. I love you. Thank You.”
When we break this down, what we are doing is simultaneously asking for is forgiveness from our negative thoughts while also giving gratitude for the process of being cleansed of them.
Practice saying this mantra whenever you feel guilt or shame, or simply make a habit of saying it with your morning meditation. It will cleanse you of your negative feelings and bring you back to center.
4) Reclaim – Now that you have re-centered and forgiven yourself, you should begin to feel whole again. You can reclaim your power to be in control of your thoughts about yourself and move forward, empowered.