Self Compassion (SC)

Self care
13 May 2023

I am continuing my recent theme of  ‘self care’.

You may think we have discussed self compassion before and you may be right. However, because it is so important when talking about poor MH, I think it is worth a revisit.

I intend to base this Post around the following questions:

* Why is SC so important?

* What does it really mean?

* How do we actually practice it? 

SC becomes almost vital when we are in the real depths of MH problems. For example, we could be dealing with debilitating depression or anxiety. Actually the idea for this post came into my mind a few weeks ago during several spells of lowering anxiety. As is often the case there was no obvious reason for these anxiety moods. When thinking about what I could do to change this mood these thoughts came into my mind:

What would my best friend advise?

Can I take my own advice?

How about showing some self compassion?

How can I do this in practical terms?

To answer these I came up with:

1 Reduce stress/pressure on myself by lowering expectations of what I can achieve today.

2 Find joy. Do anything that pleases. I was fortunate that it was an outdoor bowling day and I knew this was great therapy for me.   

3 Remember that every day is different. If yesterday was bad and you are apprehensive about tomorrow, you can still enjoy today.   

Also part of SC is asking for support. Talking to people who understand you can really help. 

There are a few different dictionary definitions  of ‘compassion’ but I like this one: “Compassion is feelings of warmth, sympathy and understanding for someone who is suffering”. So self compassion is easy; we simply show all these feelings to ourselves! 

It may help if you try to answer the following questions:

* Am I as compassionate to myself as I am to my friends?

* Can I turn to myself, especially under stress, and tap my personal resources for self-soothing, self affection and self understanding?

* Do I actively but modestly look for opportunities for self praise?

(Questions from writings by Robert N Johansen an American Clinical Psychologist).

As Kelly McGonical an American health psychologist said “SC beats self criticism any day and in every way.” 

What can make SC difficult? I think one of the main obstacles is guilt. This may be self generated or arise from comments made by other people. For example, you may hear remarks suggesting you are lazy or selfish. Please remember only you know how exactly your MH works so don’t feel guilty when you need some SC therapy.

Obviously in needing some SC you are not saying this prevents you showing compassion to others.

I would really like to hear your views on this important MH subject. (I can take constructive criticism but please show some compassion!)


A Moodscope member

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

Moodscope members seek to support each other by sharing their experiences through this blog. Posts and comments on the blog are the personal views of Moodscope members, they are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice.

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