Self-compassion: love yourself fully
Whether single or dating, one thing is for sure: the longest relationship we’ll have, whether we like it or not, will be with ourself. We often talk about self-esteem, how good and important it is to have a healthy relationship with ourselves. But do we really know what it is made of and if it is as beneficial as we are taught?
Dr. Kristin Neff, American author, professor and researcher in self-compassion, defines self-esteem as: “a global evaluation of self worth, a judgement of who we are”. Ultimate marker of psycological health it should be able to attest of our mental well-being.
Thus, if our self-esteem is low, it can lead to depression, anxiety or even suicide. On the other hand, if it is high, it can be an indicator of a relatively “healthy” life and mind. However, it is interesting to question the source of this high self-esteem and how it is acquired.
In order to have high self-esteem, you need, in part, to feel special, above average. This would cause us to belittle others in order to feel more important. Neff explains that an epidemic of narcissism and intimidation is spreading in schools, high self-esteem being prized and placed on a pedestal.
If self-esteem ends up being toxic, what do we have left?
Self-compassion is a form of psychology that teaches us to look at ourselves differently, and to become aware of our present state. ” It is not a way of judging ourselves positively but relating to ourselves kindly, embracing ourselves as we are, flaws and all “, explains Neff.
In order to do so, it is important to keep these three key points in mind: Pour se faire, il est important de garder en tête les trois ingrédients clés de cette façon de penser : Treat yourself with kindness, being imperfect is what makes us human, it is the shared human experience and learn to live in the present moment, be fully conscious of what is going on inside and around you.
It is about thinking of yourself as your best friend, to give ourselves as much kindness as we would to the most important person in our lives. Neff adds: “On a bad day, we are often harsher and cruel to ourselves with our words. We say things to ourselves that we wouldn’t say to anyone. We are our worst enemy”. Giving ourselves love can mend so many hurtful scars.
It is crucial to sometimes take a step back and understand our feelings, to love ourselves in order to move forward. It is not about feeling bad for ourselves, quite on the contrary, but to understand where they come from and to take time heal. It’s about reassuring ourselves and accepting that feelings are temporary.
Self-compassion can also have great benefits in a couple. Developing and cultivating benevolence, deep empathy, and indulgence towards the other’s differences are probably the pillars of marital happiness. To know how to be attentive to oneself as well as to our partner is a guarantee of a great understanding of what surrounds us. It’s the opposite of a vicious circle. The love we have for ourselves, ends up having a positive impact on those around us. “Our bodies are programmed to respond to heat. When we feel safe and comforted, we reach our full potential”, says Neff.
On February 14th, or the other 264 days of the year, as a couple or single person, practice this method daily. To love oneself fully is an art that is important to cultivate.