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4 Things That Happen When You’re Capable Of Self-Compassion (Supported By Science)

4 Things That Happen When You’re Capable Of Self-Compassion (Supported By Science)

Self love is a concept that makes people uneasy. It evokes images of narcissism and selfishness. Recently there has been a shift away from encouraging the enhancement of self esteem, especially in children. It is seen as indulgent and as having a counter productive impact by inflating the ego and making children too focused on their own needs and less interested in the needs and well being of others.

Instead of pandering to the trivial needs of individuals, psychologists are now looking at ways that people can face life’s challenges in a more productive and selfless way. This not only has a beneficial influence on the individual; by making them more resilient and self nurturing, it also greatly enhances the cohesion of society as a whole; by making people more empathetic and less self interested.

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The concept of self-compassion…

“…involves being touched by and open to one’s own suffering, not avoiding or disconnecting from it, generating the desire to alleviate one’s suffering and to heal oneself with kindness. Self-compassion also involves offering non-judgmental understanding to one’s pain, inadequacies and failures, so that one’s experience is seen as part of the larger human experience.” Kristin Neff, University of Texas

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The most important way to conquer self-compassion is to practice mindfulness. This means being aware of what or who has had a destructive influence on our emotions and understanding that our response is justified and valid. Once we approach our pain with kindness and promote a constructive perspective to our struggle, we can begin to heal.

Here are 4 scientifically supported things that will happen when you are capable of self-compassion:

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1. You’ll confront yourself more frankly

Self-compassion allows us to open ourselves up to confronting our pain with patience and sensitivity. It also helps us to regulate our emotions, so that we experience them in a balanced and healthy way. Their intensity and duration are managed and we don’t shy away from them, but at the same time control ourselves from over indulging.

The more notice you take of your feelings and where they fit into the scope of reality, the more mindful you will become.

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2. You’ll be more empathetic to others too

Reflecting on your emotions and the feelings of others enhances your propensity to empathize. You will not only recognize your response to adverse and difficult situations, but you will also learn to be more aware of the suffering of others. Practicing sensitivity becomes a new habit. You no longer compare yourself with envy or begrudge the success of others; you instead take pleasure in others’ accomplishments and lament their losses.

3. You’ll let go more easily

When experiencing adversity, people tend to perceive this as failure and fall into the trap of self criticism. We often compare ourselves to others, which when at a low point, further perpetuates our feelings of inadequacy and disappointment in ourselves. This then becomes cyclical. The worse we judge ourselves, the lower we feel and then denigrate ourselves further.

Self-compassion forces you to let go. You will find peace in your circumstances whether they happen to be pleasant or heartbreaking. Understanding that everything is temporary makes the present moment all the more valuable because it is fleeting. The worst becomes bearable and the best becomes magical.

4. You’ll be more open to change

When you practice self-compassion you will become more flexible and willing to experience all the diversity that life has to offer. You not only look forward to change, you seek it out because this is what growth and development are all about. Change is difficult and requires commitment and energy and when you become willing to expend effort into personal development you also learn how to stop and take stock of your life. Rest is imperative and learning to be still in the present moment long enough to love who and where you are; without indulgence, this is what inner peace feels like.

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Diane Koopman

Writer, Author, Novelist, Self-Publisher

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Last Updated on August 6, 2020

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

We’ve all done it. That moment when a series of words slithers from your mouth and the instant regret manifests through blushing and profuse apologies. If you could just think before you speak! It doesn’t have to be like this, and with a bit of practice, it’s actually quite easy to prevent.

“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napolean Hill

Are we speaking the same language?

My mum recently left me a note thanking me for looking after her dog. She’d signed it with “LOL.” In my world, this means “laugh out loud,” and in her world it means “lots of love.” My kids tell me things are “sick” when they’re good, and ”manck” when they’re bad (when I say “bad,” I don’t mean good!). It’s amazing that we manage to communicate at all.

When speaking, we tend to color our language with words and phrases that have become personal to us, things we’ve picked up from our friends, families and even memes from the internet. These colloquialisms become normal, and we expect the listener (or reader) to understand “what we mean.” If you really want the listener to understand your meaning, try to use words and phrases that they might use.

Am I being lazy?

When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, a strange metamorphosis takes place. People tend to become lazier in the way that they communicate with each other, with less thought for the feelings of their partner. There’s no malice intended; we just reach a “comfort zone” and know that our partners “know what we mean.”

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Here’s an exchange from Psychology Today to demonstrate what I mean:

Early in the relationship:

“Honey, I don’t want you to take this wrong, but I’m noticing that your hair is getting a little thin on top. I know guys are sensitive about losing their hair, but I don’t want someone else to embarrass you without your expecting it.”

When the relationship is established:

“Did you know that you’re losing a lot of hair on the back of your head? You’re combing it funny and it doesn’t help. Wear a baseball cap or something if you feel weird about it. Lots of guys get thin on top. It’s no big deal.”

It’s pretty clear which of these statements is more empathetic and more likely to be received well. Recognizing when we do this can be tricky, but with a little practice it becomes easy.

Have I actually got anything to say?

When I was a kid, my gran used to say to me that if I didn’t have anything good to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. My gran couldn’t stand gossip, so this makes total sense, but you can take this statement a little further and modify it: “If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

A lot of the time, people speak to fill “uncomfortable silences,” or because they believe that saying something, anything, is better than staying quiet. It can even be a cause of anxiety for some people.

When somebody else is speaking, listen. Don’t wait to speak. Listen. Actually hear what that person is saying, think about it, and respond if necessary.

Am I painting an accurate picture?

One of the most common forms of miscommunication is the lack of a “referential index,” a type of generalization that fails to refer to specific nouns. As an example, look at these two simple phrases: “Can you pass me that?” and “Pass me that thing over there!”. How often have you said something similar?

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How is the listener supposed to know what you mean? The person that you’re talking to will start to fill in the gaps with something that may very well be completely different to what you mean. You’re thinking “pass me the salt,” but you get passed the pepper. This can be infuriating for the listener, and more importantly, can create a lack of understanding and ultimately produce conflict.

Before you speak, try to label people, places and objects in a way that it is easy for any listeners to understand.

What words am I using?

It’s well known that our use of nouns and verbs (or lack of them) gives an insight into where we grew up, our education, our thoughts and our feelings.

Less well known is that the use of pronouns offers a critical insight into how we emotionally code our sentences. James Pennebaker’s research in the 1990’s concluded that function words are important keys to someone’s psychological state and reveal much more than content words do.

Starting a sentence with “I think…” demonstrates self-focus rather than empathy with the speaker, whereas asking the speaker to elaborate or quantify what they’re saying clearly shows that you’re listening and have respect even if you disagree.

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Is the map really the territory?

Before speaking, we sometimes construct a scenario that makes us act in a way that isn’t necessarily reflective of the actual situation.

A while ago, John promised to help me out in a big way with a project that I was working on. After an initial meeting and some big promises, we put together a plan and set off on its execution. A week or so went by, and I tried to get a hold of John to see how things were going. After voice mails and emails with no reply and general silence, I tried again a week later and still got no response.

I was frustrated and started to get more than a bit vexed. The project obviously meant more to me than it did to him, and I started to construct all manner of crazy scenarios. I finally got through to John and immediately started a mild rant about making promises you can’t keep. He stopped me in my tracks with the news that his brother had died. If I’d have just thought before I spoke…

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