My corner

About self compassion

by The Flamingo

Every year in February, we celebrate compassion at our school. This year has been all about self-compassion. We’re trying to bring awareness and teach children and adults alike about kindness towards others, but also towards one’s self. 

As I was exploring different means to better convey the message to my child, I was doing a bit of soul searching, when I realized something shocking. When was the last time I showed myself kindness? How can I teach my son self-compassion, when I myself have a hard time applying it.

So I started to exercise my mind and think about all the situations in the recent months when I showed myself some kindness. I was remembering about these past weeks when I was home sick and I was chastising myself that I laid too much in bed, that I didn’t clean or cook enough, that I said “no” to my son when he wanted to play with me. I had all sorts of regrets. 

February tends to take a toll on me, I am in general very depressed this time of year and of course, I don’t show myself kindness. I just feel guilty for being low on energy, or in a bad mood, or melancholic at times. These two feelings, guilt and regret, tend to accompany me throughout the day and pop out their ugly head at different times. It’s a bad habit I have since I was a child, to be harsh on myself. And it’s a habit that‘s hard to get rid of. Passing self judgment comes to me as easy as drinking water. 

There is a big difference between self-compassion and victimization or self-pity. People who tend to wallow in self-pity, view others as “to blame” and they expect external rescue or help. Self-compassion is more about introspection and finding rescue within one self. 

So how do I rescue myself from the guilt and remorse? I started practicing some ideas that the kids came up with in our self-compassion project, like for example:

  • Ask for a hug. I’ve learned that asking is ok, I don’t have to wait for it, for somebody to notice that I’m not well. I just ask, it’s not a sign of weakness.
  • Take a walk, breathe in deep, fresh air does wonders. 
  • Lay down, take a nap. 
  • Eat cookies, eat ice cream or whatever makes you feel better.
  • Do yoga, or meditation. 
  • Listen to music and dance. 
  • Hug your pet or teddy bear. Don’t have a teddy bear? I’m sure you can find something soft to cuddle with. 
  • Have flowers in your home. 
  • Be kind to others, it helps being kind to yourself. 
  • Tell yourself kind words like: “I did my best!” or “I didn’t do my best, but I will keep on trying” or “I believe in myself” or “I love Myself!”.
  • Be your friend. 

Kids are truly wonderful, aren’t they? I keep on learning so much from their open minds. I would also add to this list an adult thought: spend some time alone without any distractions, document my feelings. It’s a way of being honest with myself, it’s a way to create means to rescue myself from the judge and executioner in my head. 

Self-compassion is a learning experience. Let’s not judge ourselves too harshly when we fail, let’s support and encourage our inner self, we owe it to ourselves to try to be happy and live our best life until our time runs out. And of course, pass it forward to the next generation. 

Photo from Flamingo‘s archive.