We feel guilty for napping when we’re exhausted. When we’re having a “hair’s on fire” day, as a friend just described her busy Monday, we feel bad for wishing we could just relax for a few minutes. We push ourselves to keep going, rarely allowing ourselves to ask for help or have some downtime.
Messages from family, workplace and society keep telling us that we are not enough, and that others’ urgent needs always come before our own. The result? We find that we never have time for ourselves, time to just be, time to do what matters most to us.
What if we taught ourselves something new? What if we activated our Inner Encourager to create messages about the necessity of self-compassion — of showing ourselves the kindness and care that we so generously share with others?
Offering Ourselves Kindness
— Maintains resilience, or the ability to adapt positively to the changes and challenges that we encounter in life.
— Supports emotional balance and well-being
— Helps us cope with health problems and chronic pain
— Allows us to feel and act with compassion for others.
Mindfulness Meditation for Self-Compassion
Is your inner critic speaking up as you think about all this? Is it telling you that it’s bad and wrong to put yourself first? That your own needs pale in comparison to others’?
If so, try reminding yourself, gently and kindly, that taking time for yourself is an act of generosity. By restoring yourself and renewing your energy, it allows you to continue the important work you do for others.
Remembering that the most productive people reserve some of their time for themselves also helps quiet your inner critic.
Kristin Neff’s Affection Meditation offers help in strengthening self-compassion. See how you feel after following her guidance in focusing on kindness and affection toward yourself and others.
Ready for More on Self-Compassion?
Check out these previous posts.
Fireston, L. (2013). 4 Ways to overcome your inner critic.
Neff, K. D. & Germer, C. (2017). Self-Compassion and Psychological Wellbeing. In J. Doty (Ed.) Oxford Handbook of Compassion Science, Chap. 27. Oxford University Press.