Are you your own worst enemy? It is very rare for depression to exist without a certain amount of ‘self-bullying’. Depression is a bully, and it preys on and reinforces the habit of self-bullying. To beat depression, you need to sort your inner bully out! Self-compassion is a skill that you can learn and practice without having to actually ‘believe’ it at first – we can train our minds to bring greater compassion to all our thoughts and feelings.
Here are 3 main elements of self – compassion
- Self Kindness Vs. Self Judgement – When we as people treat ourselves with more respect and warmth, compared to self-criticism and unrealistic expectations, we can then have a greater understanding and sympathy for our own realities and emotions.
- Common Humanity Vs. Isolation – Suffering is not specific to one individual. As part of the human condition, we are all flawed, mortal, and subject to harsh realities. Understanding and accepting that you aren’t alone in your suffering will help reduce feelings of isolation and bring you to terms with your life in a healthy way.
- Mindfulness Vs. Over Identification – Mindfulness required the non-judgmental observation of oneself, exactly what is needed in order to avoid exaggerating negative emotions or suppressing them as well. An open and kind observation of negative emotions can be helped when you put your suffering into a larger human perspective, not undermining your own emotions but allowing yourself to be comforted by knowing you’re not alone.
Find a self-compassion test, more self-compassion training exercises, and some MP3 downloads with self-compassion meditations on Dr Kristin Neff’s website at www.self-compassion.org. A very good way to develop more self-compassion is learning the skill of mindfulness – learn more on the ‘Practicing Mindfulness’ page of Dr Kristin’s website and look out for courses or workshops run by your university or college counselling service.