Compassion is an incredibly important human trait that bonds us across all divisions. When it comes to other people, most of us find it natural to notice and identity suffering. We feel emotionally moved and drawn to help that individual, and often act to alleviate their suffering in any small way. In fact, etymologically, compassion is derived from Latin and means to “suffer with.” Yet, despite this being such a natural and positive human instinct, we often have difficulty providing ourselves with the same warmth, caring, and understanding. Self-compassion is a fulfilling and positive trait which instills emotional resilience, benefits relationships, and provides self-clarity. You can develop your self-compassion through self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness.

Be Kind to Yourself
We can offer warmth and understanding to strangers we meet on the street, but struggle to offer the same kindness to ourselves. We do not need to reduce our compassion for others, but simply increase the kindness and comfort we show ourselves. Human existence is difficult and even the most charmed individuals must cope with failure, setbacks, imperfections, and suffering. We do not need to judge or beat ourselves down when we fail, but show kindness and understanding. A gentle approach to our own setbacks can reduce stress and frustration and alleviate the unnecessary pain of self-criticism.

Find Common Humanity
It is very important to accept our own humanity. As every other person, we must grapple with frustrating obstacles, failures, and tragic events. It is essential to provide ourselves with self-compassion by accepting these events as true experiences of the human condition, not personal failures that deserve intense self-criticism and judgement. Furthermore, you are not an individual suffering by yourself. Your struggles are part of the multifaceted human experience. Your experience exists within a larger perspective and you are not alone. Acknowledge your humanity and provide yourself with the same compassion you would any other suffering person.

Mindful Approach
The essential key to self-compassion is mindfulness. It is important to observe and pay attention, without judgement or criticism. Observe and monitor your experiences and emotional states. In observing rather than judging, you will find self-clarity. Just as your observations and openness allow you to feel compassion for others, turning the same approach inward will allow you to recognize the inner need for the same kindness, warmth, and support.