Self compassion, also known as “self love,” is considered a revolutionary act. It is the thought that one can not only acknowledge their flaws, but that happiness can go against the values ingrained in mainstream American culture. We live in a society where it is hard to find contentedness because we are taught to never be satisfied and to want more.
Charlie Chaplin once stated, “As I began to love myself I freed myself of anything that is no good for my health — food, people, things, situations, and everything that drew me down and away from myself. At first I called this attitude a ‘healthy egoism’. Today I know it as, ‘love of oneself.'”
Chaplin was right in his words. Some may think that self love is egotistical, when in fact it is simply learning to live in oneself and enjoy it.
Researchers at the University of Waterloo studied a group of 153 female college students, asking them various questions on their eating habits, weight/height, self esteem and self compassion.
The study concluded that women with high self compassion had a more accepting and loving body image, as well as healthier eating habits.
According to psychcentral.com, having a more compassionate relationship with oneself helps with depression and anxiety, and also lowers levels of stress. The idea of being more compassionate to oneself may sound terrifying when coming to terms with the skeletons one hides in one’s closet. However, there are small steps one can take to ease into the process. Here are some of the best steps according to psychcentral.com:
1. “Start Small.”
2. Walks, warm baths or showers, nourishing snacks and deep, meditating breathes are all small acts of self compassion that one can try.
3. Acknowledge the struggle.
4. Writing out frustrations or stating them out loud without judgement allows you to understand yourself better, as well as acknowledge that the situation is frustrating, not that you are less.
5. Most importantly, remember you are not alone. Millions of people struggle with self compassion and go through periods of depression.
So next time the thoughts “Goodness, I am a failure,” or “I can’t do anything right” come up, stop and treat yourself the same way you would a best friend or a pet: with [some] tender love and care. Treat yourself with the love and respect that you deserve.