Last week I posed this question to those who follow along on my email list:
What is the most important, consistent thing that you do to show compassion toward yourself? Or, how do you put self-compassion into action?
Here were your responses. These are incredible.
I often do a self-visualization of the part of me that's hurting (usually ends up being a small child) and then ask him to come sit with me. That helps a lot. Just asking that he come be with me is a huge integration of myself. Draws me closer.
Meditation helps by just calming down and feeling your emotions.
I also often ask myself "what's a really kind thing I could do for you right now?" It's nearly always much simpler than I would have expected.
I take time to remember that showing myself compassion doesn't always come naturally. I tend to be harder on myself than I am on anyone else. I have to be intentional to change that pattern.
To do so, I stop throughout my day and ask myself if I am being kind to myself. I stop and listen to my self-talk and ask myself if I would speak to another person with the words and tone that I am speaking to myself. We counsel ourselves all day long through our self-talk, so I regularly ask, am I counseling myself with compassion and kindness?
Whenever I start to feel depression or some related negative emotion, I know that it is the time to stop and ask myself if I am being kind to myself. When this happens, I intentionally stop and choose love, compassion, and kindness.
One thing I have done is to imagine my son as me. I then go to my son and tell him that I love him, I am proud of him, I love how he builds really cool robots and fights bad guys. As I talk to him I imagine I am loving and encouraging myself. The best part is when my son talks back to me,"Dada, you are really cool" or "I love you too". I know it sounds different but I actually feel myself loving me when I imagine my son as myself and we go through this wonderful exercise from time to time.
I used to expose my sins in the name of light disinfecting my sin, now I am trusting Christ has the sin completely covered and desires me to come close. This results in my pain becoming an opportunity for me to be close to God and man, rather than alone. As a result, I am ending the war with myself and fully engaging with the pain whether it be triggers or acting out, and I’m not alone in it. HALLELFREAKINGLUJAH!! I’m becoming heartbroken for the “before porn” moments I could have shared with a God that wants to draw close and friends that care.
F Shame. F Porn. Hello tender, worth loving, ok to be broken, dependent, open hearted, emotionally engaged self. I’m not fixing myself anymore so he can loved, that’s SO EXHAUSTING!, I’m drawing as close as possible, fully knowing my brokenness is ok amidst love.
The way I practice self-compassion during my day is by setting up reminders on my iPhone. I usually have them tell me that I’m doing great or I ask myself ‘Heart how am I doing” or “What am I saying yes and no to.” I also find it very helpful to constantly remind myself that if I mess up on something that it’s not the end and to keep pushing forward. Lastly, I make sure I spend time doing the things I enjoy weekly and that I have days off of work.
I do things for myself that I love, even if it's not popular. I love horsepower, I love going to car shows and drag races. Even though no one in my family agrees or enjoys those things I do and I treat my self from time to time.
I have a covenant relationship with my morning schedule, this has impacted my life dramatically. I start the day with a quick simple prayer, directly after that I beginning writing, and that's followed up with a devotion. While I dive into my writing I first begin with getting my thoughts and feelings onto paper. This allows me to hand pick the positive thoughts that will impact my day for the better and throw out any unwanted toxic thoughts floating around. This act itself is tri-fold in the Self-compassion department.
It's literally the act of self-compassion, taking the time to be authentic and honest with yourself.
It exposes the areas in your life that you could possibly have/start showing more self-compassion.
It starts your day with victory at hand! You've already won the day and it soon becomes contagions to those paying close attention.
Hope this helps. Thanks for the opportunity to speak into your journey, as well as your other readers.
I close my eyes and visualize God, as a kind, loving father, standing in front of me. I show him my self-doubts, my hurt, my feelings of failure and shame, and I ask him what he thinks about me.
Every time, he grips me with a firm, warm hug and tells me it’s ok, I’m doing the best job I can, and that he is proud of me despite whatever I’m frustrated or hurt about.
I use to have to close my eyes and do this exercise to get to a place where what he said felt real. But after a month of regularly doing this, I noticed that no matter how many times I go to Him while feeling like a failure or insignificant, he would always hug me and tell me the same message.
I’m loved. He’s proud of me. And I’m important.
I now trust his embrace and kind words even more than my own circumstances and doubting thoughts.
With time, my faith became stronger. I don’t even have to close my eyes anymore to connect with self-acceptance and compassion for myself.
Now I know that even in my brokenness, failure, and insignificance that I am still deserving of love.
This has freed me tremendously and helped me become a better friend and husband.
The most effective way I practice self compassion is always in moments where I make a mistake at work. Wether some says something or not, normally, I’d come down on myself and welcome waves of guilt to crash on my heart. More recently, I have put a dam on those waves in such a way of taking time to intentionally realize all the other factors that play into this mistake and almost always realize it’s something very understandable. I physically feel the difference in my heart when this happens: it feels like a lifting versus a sinking!