Imagine what your life would be like if you related to yourself as a compassionate friend rather than as harsh bully.
What would it be like if you were your own best friend during difficult times? What if next time you messed up, you decided to learn from it rather than beat yourself up?
Honestly, it would make a world of difference.
This gentle and balanced way of relating to yourself is called self-compassion. It’s treating yourself as you would a friend who is struggling, scared, confused or learning something new.
Self-compassion is a balance of truth (“Yes, I made a mistake.”) with grace (“I have worth and value, and I will address mistakes directly.”).
Grace and truth together means you acknowledge a negative that happened without either minimizing it or making it more than it was, and at the same time applying compassion to yourself.
Self-compassion helps us handle our humanity and the situations we are in with empathy, concern, understanding and kindness.
Mounds of research show that those who lack self-compassion struggle more with depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, lack of resilience and problems in relationships. In addition, it is common to have trouble letting go of mistakes, forgiving oneself and recovering from painful experiences.
Being a compassionate friend to ourselves helps us become better friends, spouses, parents, bosses and co-workers. We have more love and energy to give others when we are in a more settled place inside and aren’t wasting time and energy fighting with our inner critic.
But wait! Isn’t this just being selfish? Is self-compassion Biblical?
The answer is a resounding Yes! Check this out:
Mark 12:28–31 says: One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’
The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
Jesus was asked which commandment was the greatest and He gave them two commandments encompassed by one principle: Love.
Love God with everything in you. Love your neighbor and use your model for loving them, as the way you love yourself.
Wait! What? Our model for loving others is how we love ourselves? Uh oh!
Ephesians 4:25-32 tells us how we are to love our neighbors. Let’s take a look at verses 29-32 specifically.
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
If we are to do this for one another, why wouldn’t we also do this for ourselves?
We are to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. When God instructs us to “love your neighbor as yourself”, He assumes we have a healthy and balanced amount of self-love.
Galatians 5:22–23 is another passage than can inspire us to treat ourselves in a Biblically sound way. This wisdom applies to our interactions with others as well as ourselves.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
These verses describe characteristics that emanate from someone who is yielded to the Holy Spirit. When we are in tune with Him and connected to Him, we naturally experience and express these characteristics toward everyone—including ourselves.
What a difference it would make to us internally as well as to those in relationship with us, if we treated ourselves in the above ways.
Believe it or not, a lack of self-compassion actually hurts our relationship with God. Our inner critic won’t let God’s mercy, compassion and forgiveness register deep within.
So what it boils down to is this. God deeply and profoundly loves you. He wants you to love and care for yourself. This gives you so much more to share with others.
God wants you to relate to yourself the way He relates to you – with love, grace and truth. What a gracious Father we have!
I would love to get your input.
What was your reaction when you saw the picture, Friend or Foe? How have you seen yourself become a better friend to yourself? What jumped out at you from this blog post??
Please leave your comments below and share on social media or via e-mail with others who might benefit!
This post was first published by www.aspiringwomanmagazine.com/magazine as a guest post by Kim Oct 2016