5 Ways to Practice Compassionate Self Care

When we hear the word Self Care, we associate it to pampering ourselves, doing some shopping, munching on our favorite food, having a bubble bath or going on vacations. Our idea of self care has become hedonistic or pleasure seeking. With the mental health movement gaining steam on social media, we can become saddled with these ideas which may not serve us very much in the long run. So what really is compassion and compassionate self care? And how do we apply it in our daily lives?

What is Self Compassion? Am I being Selfish?

His Holiness the Dalai Lama has said that “Love and Compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.” We take this quote to mean that we should be loving and compassionate to others and put others needs before our own. But the Dalai Lama has also suggested while discussing compassion, “yourself first, and then in a more advanced way the aspiration will embrace others.” Many people may mistakenly believe that this points towards selfishness, and that they don’t want to be selfish or self centered. But that is not true.

Thupten Jinpa, the Dalai Lama’s English translator and a visiting scholar St Stanford University, has talked about Compassion in his book “A Fearless Heart: How the Courage to be Compassionate Can Transform Our Lives.” Jinpa explains, self-compassion is the “instinctive ability to be kind and considerate to yourself.”

According to him, Compassion, is “a sense of concern that arises when we are confronted with another’s suffering and feel motivated to see that suffering relieved.” “But if we are not operating within a fundamental mindset of compassion for our own struggles,” he says, “then don’t develop adequate resources within ourselves to be able to give more to others.”  The way we behave or interact with others is a reflection of our relationship with our own selves! Cultivating kindness for ourselves will lay the foundations for a more compassionate world. Hence, as we start to become kinder and more compassionate to ourselves, we naturally begin to start sharing that with others.

How do we practice Self Compassion?

1. Identifying and Letting go of Negative Self talk

We are many times very unkind, critical and unnecessarily judgmental to ourselves. We out labels on ourselves such as ‘messed up,’ ‘failure,’ ‘crazy,’ or ‘loser.’ We are constantly rating and evaluating ourselves all the time, which is a lot of building of pressure on ourselves. This self talk is detrimental to our mental health and we form a toxic relationship with ourselves.

To practice Compassionate Self care, we should identify this negative self talk and start challenging or modifying it. We should extend the kindness, support, love and encouragement to ourselves that we would to a loved one or a child.

2. Knowing and Valuing our own needs

We all have needs- physical, psychological, intellectual, emotional, social, recreational,  etc. We many times are not even aware of them. For instance, one of the needs we miss out on is one for intellectual stimulation, in which we need to feed a balanced, healthy and positive diet to our minds, just as we aim to do for our bodies. We also have a need to create, not just consume (food, media, content, etc.). We have a need to put something out in the world that we have created (cooking, art, poetry, dance, singing, etc.). We also have a need to be nurtured and to nurture someone or something. Our emotional needs are the most neglected- namely, need to express, to process emotions and to explore the spectrum of our feelings instead of running away from them. Instead of depending on external factors or people, we should aim to satisfy our own needs in various different ways. Identify your unmet needs systematically. Ask yourself what you need from a situation or person (approval, validation, positive feelings, peace, joy) and find a way to give that to yourself.

3. Drawing boundaries

Many of us are unaware of what is too much for us, what hurts us, what we don’t want. Thus, we keep on getting hurt, feeling isolated, left out, dissapointed, and so on. We see ourselves as a victim of situations or acts of others. We fail to realize that it is our responsibility, and only ours to draw our boundaries. We can be assertive and put forth what we want or don’t, without disrespecting the needs of the other. We need to build tools that will help us keep our peace of mind. Will our boundary be violated? Yes. If it keeps happening again and again, we can get out a toxic relationship or find ways to come a truce or an acceptance. But being compassionate to ourselves requires us to think of what we allow and what we don’t.

4. Finding resources and Asking for help

Self care means improving our relationship with ourselves. We are being unkind to ourselves if we don’t give ourselves opportunities to grow. If we are struggling with something, we should find tools to help our mental health. It may be loneliness, anxiety, sadness, guilt, insecurities or many other issues we are going through. Seeking help, getting the right tools is imperative to compassionate self care. Don’t let your ego come in between, or the belief that you know it all. Find ways to help yourself adapt and overcome challenges.

5. Gratitude and Appreciation for ourselves

Just as we appreciate a child for small improvements, offer gratitude for their actions and encourage them, an adult needs these too to form a fulfilling life. We often look towards others for this, or towards our financial or professional or skillful achievements to feel good about ourselves. We must appreciate ourselves for the little things we do for ourselves and for others. From getting out of bed on a rough day, to pulling ourselves up from a meltdown, to small acts of kindness or progress that go unnoticed, we should pat ourselves on the back and encourage ourselves with this appreciation. Feeling gratitude for ourselves, for building a better inner world is also vital. Generating these feelings is not self deception and delusional positivity as some may believe but a great tool to find peace on who we are, instead of who we want to be.

Needless to say, there are thousands of ways to practice Compassionate Self Care. You may use these as a starting point and come up with your own ways to build compassion and love towards yourself. At ZorbaWellness – Rehab centre in Mumbai for Alcohol and Drug addiction treatment, we aim to motivate clients to start their journey of self discovery and self acceptance. Drug or Alcohol Addiction alienates a person from who they are, they begin hating themselves and avoid even faxing who they really are. Addiction, Anxiety, Depression, Personality issues, Emotional Instability, all require one to formally healthy relationship with oneself. Instead of focusing on surface level self love, we aim to help them examine themselves and work on obstacles to self love.  Holistic health, then shifts focus from treating symptoms of an illness to treating an individual and helping them treat themselves with love, care and dignity. Get yourself treated at the best rehab centre in Kolkata.

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