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.
Negative messages from family, workplace and society tell 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 express 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? If so, try reminding yourself, gently and kindly, that taking time for yourself is an act of generosity. By restoring you and renewing your energy, it allows you to continue all the important work you do for others.
Remembering that the most productive people reserve some of their time for themselves will alsohelp quiet your inner critic.
Here’s something for you to try: Kristin Neff’s Affection Meditation. See how you feel after allowing her to guide you in focusing on your breathe, and 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.