What is Self-Compassion?
What it is: Compassion is the feeling of pain one feels when another suffers. It is also caring about someone and wishing they not suffer. Self-compassion is having the same concern for our own pain and welfare. Out of self-compassion flow self-care and protection from harm.
What it is not: Self-compassion is not self-pity, where we wallow in the shame of what we have done. It is not self-complacency, where we just accept where we are. Instead, it is the idea that we can be kind to ourselves when we fail and treat ourselves with the caring support we would give another who is struggling.
Self-compassion is a balance of truth (Yes, I made a mistake) with grace (I have worth and value, and I will address this mistake directly).
Self-compassion is absolutely essential for healthy, balanced living. It provides huge benefits including emotional resiliency, stress reduction, contentment, and healthier relationships. Without it we are vulnerable to the opinions of others and find it difficult to deal with and let go of our mistakes.
It is tough enough to go through a difficult situation, especially when we think we had a part in creating it. It is another kind of torture to never be able to let go of self-criticism and blame.
I have found that most people do not know how to be compassionate with themselves. We tend to be too harsh or too lenient with ourselves. A few years ago I was studying about the power of self-compassion in order to help my clients heal and work through difficult life experiences. In my studies I was shocked to find that there was nothing published on integrating self-compassion with Christian faith. How could this be? God tells us to love others as we love ourselves, yet nothing was written about being compassionate with ourselves, as God is with us?
I started using what I was learning with my clients and found self-compassionate practices and wording very helpful. I kept hearing God whisper in my ear that I needed to write all this down. I totally resisted. I had a full counseling practice, led lots of parenting and relationship classes, and taught counseling at a local graduate school (www.WesternSeminary.edu). The last thing I needed was to take the time to write a book – it seemed like way too much work. But…He kept whispering and I finally willingly surrendered. In March of 2013 I self-published a book and started speaking at lots of churches in my area.
People loved to hear about self-compassion – it touched their souls somehow, but most had no idea how to interact with themselves in these kind ways. Many shared that they couldn’t find self-compassionate words to say to themselves. Because of this I made sure to provide these compassionate words to say to yourself in my book and CD (http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/kimfredrickson). In my blog I provide self-compassionate words to say regarding life’s difficulties as well.
My great desire is to help provide Hope, Optimism, Compassion, and Connection in the midst of difficult, unexpected and uncertain times.