Self-love, or compassion, involves treating yourself kindly, especially in the face of setbacks and disappointments. Learn to say to yourself: “This is really difficult right now. How can I comfort and care for myself in this moment?”
Self-compassion involves self-kindness through recognizing that all human beings are imperfect and make mistakes. Don’t scold yourself in a way that you would never do to another human being!
The following are three ways to help you begin to shift from self-criticism to the practice self-compassion.
1. Start to pay attention to your inner-dialogue.
The first step in any behavioral change is to develop an awareness of the behavior itself. Begin paying attention to the things that you frequently say to yourself. Write them down for greater clarity.
Choose a time during the week when you experienced a strong emotion. Write down the specific thoughts you were having. What were your judgements about yourself?
2. Practice speaking kindly to yourself.
People will say things to themselves that they would never say to someone they love. Practice speaking kindly and gently to yourself, especially during times of stress or when you have made a mistake. If you are struggling to be kind, try looking at a photo of yourself as a child. Try to think about how you would respond to a child or loved one who was struggling or having a difficult time.
3. Create a list of ways for you to self-care.
Learn relaxation strategies. Schedule self-care into your calendar. “What would feel nourishing or calming to me in this moment?”.