We often find it easy to approach other people in a friendly and empathetic way. But is often much harder to be an equally good friend to ourselves. We are often harsher and more judgemental with ourselves than we would ever be with a good friend.
It can be an invaluable resource to give ourselves comfort, understanding and compassion, and care for ourselves as well as we look after others.
To pay attention to our painful emotions as soon as they arise can often guide us on a path to healing, acceptance and self-compassion. We can than stop struggling to change the way we are, and accept what is. We learn that things are allowed to be the way they are. And what we allow will often change.
To experience ourselves in our humanity, in all our fragility and vulnerability, allows us to sense a connection with each other.
Suffering, pain and intense emotions are not something that only we experience, alone and in isolation – they are a basic reality of our existence.
If we cultivate self-compassion and care for ourselves, we can stabilise and strengthen our resources. We can then draw strength from the gift of acceptance: strength to reassure ourselves and others in the face of fear, uncertainty and anxiety, and to be thankful for the things which bring us joy.
Research by Dr. Kristin Neff shows that the harder we are on ourselves, the more stagnant and difficult our life may appear. However, if we treat ourselves with loving kindness and self-compassion, we can enhance our physical and psychological well-being, stay better motivated and remain more positive and resilient.
Meditation and contemplation practices as well as creativity and physical exercise support us on this path. Body, mind and spirit are affected and nurtured equally.
Self-compassion, kindness and gratitude towards ourselves become an integral part of our daily routine.