What Self-Compassion Can Do For You

Self-compassion is good for self. Now I bet during this COVID-19 Pandemic, you have practiced a lot of self-compassion, which also means self-care, which involves a lot of soul-searching. Now, people can put different definitions on what they would call it, and I would do the same. Self-compassion is essential, especially right now with everything that is going on in the world. This article on self-compassion and psychology will dive deeper into what self-compassion can do for you, using some experts’ perspectives, so it is not just my point of view. Then you can decide how you feel about self-compassion for yourself.

Compassion is showing someone that you care a lot about what they are going through. There are many ways that you can show compassion in your unique way. But before you can show compassion to someone else, you have to show compassion to yourself. Before you can walk alongside someone else, you have to realize what you want. Don’t let anyone else decide for you. Self-compassion is focusing on your own needs. You have to focus on your needs before you can focus on the needs of others. This is why we need to focus on self-compassion. In my research, I came across this study on self-compassion from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology that talks a lot about self-awareness and self-esteem. The study “suggest(s) that self-compassion attenuates people’s reactions to negative events in ways that are distinct from and, in some cases, more beneficial than self-esteem” (2007). You have to have some good coping skills so that way, you don’t focus too much on what has happened to you in the past.

You have to be self-aware of your desires and wants. A good way to do this is going on a hike. You can go discover yourself. You can practice self-compassion, and you can also show compassion to others. For you to be happy, you have to show yourself compassion. It’s like filling your car up with gasoline. If you don’t get refueled, you run the risk of falling apart. Before you can show compassion to someone else, you have to think about your own self-discovery. Your own life. Your own life journey.

As people, we are wired to be compassionate. That is just our human nature. Now, I am not saying that we always show compassion, but we should start doing that. We can begin every day by being kind to ourselves. Having compassion for ourselves can lengthen our lifespan by “years.” In an article by psychotherapist Maxine Harley, she said something that stopped me in my tracks that I think is important. “Our brains are built for change and are shaped by our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs. MRI scans have found that areas of the brain (temporal lobe/parietal lobe, as well as the Insula cortical region of the frontal cortex) were very strongly activated during meditation upon the expression of compassion. These brain areas affect the visceral organs and thereby set up the mind-body connection with the sense of compassion” (2018). What she is saying is that what the brain focuses on has an impact on our physical bodies.

Now, I don’t know how many years we will be on earth, but everyone needs to be compassionate for however long we have on earth. We can start showing compassion, even more compassion, to our friends and family, but it starts when we show compassion to ourselves. Then we will be able to show our kids and our grandkids how to do the same. It can happen for generations to come. One way you can show compassion is that you can call one of your family members and make sure they are ok and they are staying safe. Or you can cook for your immediate family if they don’t live too far away from you. Or you can always FaceTime them. Showing compassion to the ones you love is a great way to show yourself compassion!

Research has shown that self-compassion has done a lot for the person taking care of themselves in the right way. The people who had higher levels of self-compassion were more self-aware of who they are as human beings. Self-awareness leads to loving yourself more and more. So if you learn to have self-compassion, then your future will be bright.

Works Cited:

Harley, Maxine. “The Benefits Of Compassion & Self Compassion.” Life Labs, Kelsey Media, 8 Nov. 2018, lifelabs.psychologies.co.uk/posts/30673-the-benefits-of-compassion-self-compassion.

Leary, Mark R., et al. “Self-Compassion and Reactions to Unpleasant Self-Relevant Events: The Implications of Treating Oneself Kindly.”Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, vol. 92, no. 5, 2007, pp. 887–904., doi:10.1037/0022-3514.92.5.887.

Jimmy Freels
Community Outreach Associate
Compassionate Atlanta

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