As the new year rolls in and many of us are making New Year’s resolutions – or even avoiding the new year tradition all together – it is important to remember that it is okay to mess up your resolution, ignore it completely, or not even make one.  That’s right, we’re talking about self-compassion in this post and its importance in our stressful lives. Dr. Kristen Neff defines self-compassion as being kind and understanding with oneself when faced with personal failings. In other words, giving yourself a break when you’ve made a mistake, forgotten to do something, or any other multitude of things that might seem disappointing. Sometimes it is just enough to wake up in the morning and get dressed, without hounding yourself about making it to the gym or cooking breakfast. 

Self compassion is an important part of social, emotional learning as we can practice self-worth and improve self-esteem by practicing self-compassion. According to Dr. Lisa Firestone’s article “The Many Benefits of Self-Compassion,” published by Psychology Today, self-compassion allows us to move away from an overly judgmental internal voice and accept that things don’t always go our way. The article also discusses that practicing self-compassion allows us to stop ruminating over problems that we have faced and find healthier ways to create future change instead. 

According to Dr. Kristen Neff and VeryWellMind self-compassion has three important components: self-kindness, mindfulness, and imperfection. Self-kindness allows you to remove or pause negative thoughts in their tracks, reminding yourself that mistakes happen and it is okay. Mindfulness is being conscious of these negative thoughts, what emotions you are truly facing, and acknowledging the pain that you are feeling. Imperfection is reminding yourself that we are all human and humans make mistakes. This article from Harvard Business Review reminds us of just that, it is important to remind yourself that mistakes happen and that it is important for us to have a growth mindset instead of belittling ourselves. 

These articles from the Greater Good Magazine and Mindful discuss the myths behind self-compassion. For example, many people think that self-compassion is a weakness or being too soft on oneself, but it is the opposite as self-compassion requires you to acknowledge the mistake, your emotions about the mistake, and create a plan for the future. Mindful’s article also discusses the physical benefits of practicing self-compassion as it allows you to feel less stressful about a mistake once you get more comfortable with the process. 

For some exercises to practice self-compassion please check out the following links:

We hope that this piqued your interest in self-compassion, and perhaps it will be your new New Year’s resolution. 

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