As a mother of multiple children, we can drop the ball…..a lot! When we make mistakes our default might be self-critical and non-forgiving towards ourselves. When we begin to see this behavior happening with our own children, we know just how important it is to change the way we deal with our mistakes and shortcomings.
If you practice Self-Compassion, instead of beating yourself up with negative self-talk when things go wrong, you will become happier and more satisfied with life overall.
What is Self-Compassion?
Self-Compassion is treating yourself with compassion, much like you would treat someone else you love. An example of an act of self-compassion would be to share some kind words to ourselves to help us get back on our feet.
Kristen Neff, a leading researcher of self-compassion writes in this article “Definition of Self-Compassion”:
“Self-compassion involves acting the same way towards yourself when you are having a difficult time, fail, or notice something you don’t like about yourself. Instead of just ignoring your pain with a “stiff upper lip” mentality, you stop to tell yourself “this is difficult,” how can I comfort and care for myself at this moment?”
What Self-Compassion is not?
“I’m such an idiot.”
“I can’t get anything right.”
“I’ll never get ahead.”
Sometimes thoughts like these can bring out our own worst critic through negative self-talk. In fact, according to the National Science Foundation, 80% of our thoughts on average are negative. If we don’t get a handle of our negative self-talk, it can even lead to psychological problems such as:
- lower self-esteem
However, If we learned to practice self-compassion regularly there would be many benefits.
What Are The Benefits Of Self-Compassion?
According to a self-compassion study of Dr. Kristin D. Neff’s participants who practiced self-compassion reported powerful benefits such as:
- positive mood
- personal initiative
- curiosity and exploration
But one important benefit not mentioned is how we begin to model self-compassion to others! I adore my children, and frequently, I deny myself self-care. My thought process was that I was putting them first, and that was the right thing to do. I see the flaws in this now.
It is when we practice self-compassion with ourselves that we are also modeling self-compassion to others. We help our children to do the same so they don’t suffer from their own harsh negative self-talk, but thrive with a healthy and compassionate self-talk.
How Can We Practice Self-Compassion?
So what are the ways we can practice self-compassion? Here are six simple ways you can increase your self-compassion:
Notice Your Internal Script
The first step to practicing self-compassion is to notice your internal script. Pay attention throughout the day what you are saying to yourself. Are you that kind and caring friend or are you a critical and hurtful bully through negative self-talk?
Talk To Yourself As You Would A Friend
To change that script, you need to change your self-talk. Now that you are aware of what you say to yourself when things go wrong, you can start replacing your self-talk with a more positive and caring words. Think of how you would respond to a friend that is dealing with the same situation?
Keep a Self-Appreciation List
Create a list of positive things you or someone else has discovered about yourself. Keep this list somewhere easily accessible, such as your daily journal, so you can refer to it often, especially when you need some self-compassion and are at a loss for words.
Here are a few great questions that can help you generate that list:
What do you do well?
What challenges have you overcome in your life?
What are some things you love about yourself?
What are some compliments others have said about you?
What accomplishments and achievements have you done?
It may be hard to do if you are not feeling at your best, but write what you can and add to the list. Especially make an effort to fill it out on a good day when you’re positive and thinking clearly. And on those bad days, be sure to refer back to it.
Cut Yourself Some Slack
I know when I am being especially hard on myself, it usually originates from having too much on my plate. Sometimes it might just happen that way through no fault of my own, but more often than not it is because I signed up for more than I should have.
Whatever the case may be, it is important to practice self-compassion by taking a step back. Don’t allow the stress to get the best of you. Feeling rushed to make the next steps of handling the situation while feeling stressed.
Rather, be kind to yourself, forgive yourself, and provide yourself with a bit of encouragement. Remember, treat yourself as you would a friend. If you take the time to let the stress melt away, you will be in a better mindset to tackle the things you have before you.
Taking care of yourself is a practice of self-compassion. Just as you would do a kind deed for a friend or family member to ease their burden, you must take care of yourself.
As mothers, it can be especially hard to break away time for ourselves when we are overwhelmed with the seemingly endless tasks before us.
We must remind ourselves of what happens when we don’t take that important break. Take the time you need to keep yourself at a healthy and compassionate state of mind by practicing your favorite self-care strategies.
You can learn more about self-care in my blog post 7 Daily Self-Care Tips For Stressed Moms.
Practice Self-Compassion Daily
Treat self-compassion as an exercise. Remember that with any exercise it will take time, patience, and hard work to get better at. You will eventually quiet down your negative self-talk and it will be replaced with a much kinder and reasonable voice.
Be kind to yourselves, mommas. You are worth it! By experiencing some self-compassion, you will not only help your own health and mind, but you will be kinder towards your husband and kids and enjoy life more fully! And in-turn your family will learn how to do the same. It’s really a win-win!
Practice it. Model it. Achieve it!
Share with us:
What does your internal script sound like?