From Shame to Compassion

Research suggests that giving ourselves a break and accepting our imperfections may be the first step toward better health. People who score high on tests of self-compassion have less depression and anxiety, and tend to be happier and more optimistic. 

The biggest reason people aren’t more self-compassionate is that they are afraid they’ll become self-indulgent. They believe self-criticism is what keeps them in line. Most people have gotten it wrong because our culture says being hard on yourself is the way to be. If you would like to come out of this vicious cycle of self pity and shame, here are a few suggestions that might help :

  • Understand the Nature of Shame – Shame is normal. Shame is the brain’s way of dealing with the threat of disconnection.
  • Label Shame – Label shame for what it is, an emotion. Giving it a name helps you get some distance between you and the emotion.
  • Replace Judgement with Curiosity – Try to hold your experience of shame with curiosity rather than judgement. Curiosity about your emotions can help you shift into a more caring and understanding perspective.
  • Acknowledge Your Inner Critic – It’s helpful to be aware that your inner critic often likes to amplify your shame. Remind your inner critic that you are a work in progress, trying to navigate the best you can.
  • Practice What is Helpful not Harmful – Try to speak to yourself like you would to a friend. Can you ask yourself what actions would be helpful for recovering from this experience, rather than actions that might perpetuate it? If you are working on correcting an action, can you offer yourself constructive correction rather than shaming self-attack?

Be kind to yourself because no one else will be bother if you don’t love yourself.

10 Comments Add yours

  1. Thank you for this! We always criticize ourselves too harshly and we need to just breathe and accept ourselves

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Garima says:

      Forgiving ourselves first.
      We all know how important it is to forgive others in order to move on from the past. Forgiveness is a challenge. But, many of us find it more difficult to forgive ourselves than to forgive others. Unforgiveness creates anger, resentment, stress, sleep issues, and even physical problems.

      Like

  2. Barbara Lane says:

    Excellent advice! I think we all are too critical of our self sometimes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Garima says:

      Yes all need a little chill in our lives haha

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Kim Petitt says:

    Not being hard on myself is one of those things I’m working on, the balance of truth (Yes, I made a mistake) with God’s grace I have worth and value and I will address mistakes directly. God’s grace and truth together means you acknowledge a negative thing did happen without either minimizing it or making it more than it was and at the same time allow yourself to receive compassion.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Garima says:

      Thank you Kim for sharing your thoughts. Being able to forgive yourself requires empathy, compassion, kindness, and understanding. … Whether you’re trying to work through a minor mistake or one that impacts all areas of your life, the steps you need to take in order to forgive yourself will look and feel the same. All of us make mistakes at times.

      Like

      1. Kim Petitt says:

        👍🏾👏🏾👏🏾

        Liked by 1 person

  4. This is a really good and inspiring post.
    I think that today we criticise ourselves in many respects because we expect others to criticise us.
    People find it very difficult to accept compliments from anyone today and almost look for an alterior motive.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Garima says:

      Forgiving and nurturing yourself seem to have benefits in their own right. Strong self-compassion can even set the stage for better health, relationships, and general well-being. So far, research has revealed a number of benefits of self-compassion. Lower levels of anxiety and depression have been observed in people with higher self-compassion. Self-compassionate people recognize when they are suffering and are kind to themselves at these times, thereby lowering their own levels of related anxiety and depression.

      Like

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