The Power of
Self-Compassion

As women, we often play the role of caretakers, lovers, empathizers. Yet when it comes to ourselves, we struggle to provide this same degree of love.

By Nicole Wallace, LCMHC, M.Ed, LSC

Oftentimes as women, we treat ourselves worse than we would treat others.  It continues to intrigue me when I hear a mom who visits my office talk about how she complimented or assisted a friend because she knew that person needed a pick-me-up or was struggling and then in the same conversation included a self-deprecating comment.   As women, we often play the role of caretakers, lovers, empathizers.  Yet when it comes to ourselves, we struggle to provide this same degree of love.

 

Self-Compassion is at the core of everything we do in our lives.  It is defined on Wikipedia as extending compassion to one’s self in instances of perceived inadequacy, failure, or general suffering.  Research has shown that when we show ourselves self-compassion, we have better health, healthier relationships, and are more confident. Listed below are some tips to motivate you to be kind and loving to yourself.

  •  Accept gifts and blessings that come into your life.  A friend sent me a text message today as I was writing this article. Out of the nowhere, she offered to send dinner over for my family of 6!  At first, I began to send a thank you/no thank you reply.  I started to think about the cost and how I couldn’t possibly accept.  Then, it hit me.  She’s known me and my family for over 20 years.  She obviously knew what she was signing up for financially by making the offer.  She also knew my current stressors.  Wouldn’t I do this for her as well and expect her to accept?  So, why am I having trouble accepting a gift?  What does that say about me?  I quickly changed my text from a “no thank you” to a food order.  Now that dinner was being taken care of, I could focus on some deadlines I had to meet and spend time with my kids.  It doesn’t make me a bad person to accept help from others.

 

  • Celebrate each special occasion and accomplishment, even when it’s just you present.  My cousin was celebrating a milestone birthday this month.  Earlier in the month she was complaining about not being able to have more than the people in her home there to celebrate her special day due to Covid-19 concerns.  Several weeks later I saw pictures on her Facebook page of her on her birthday. Her house was decorated beautifully and the food spread looked delicious and decadent.  I called her up to compliment her on her pictures.  During the conversation, she told me she had made a choice to stop complaining about the current state of the world and start celebrating her life. She told me it was just her immediate family at this milestone birthday party but that it was the most fun she had had in a long time.  

 

  • Be cautious about labeling yourself.  For example, making statements such as “I have anger issues or “I can’t trust anyone.”  Many people experience anger and distrust.  If we let those moments in life define us, it can bring on feelings of hopelessness.  Many times, those statements are not 100% true.  You trusted the cook who made your burger yesterday at a restaurant.  You held yourself together at work when a difficult situation occurred.  Make a point to recognize the times when you are not what you would have labeled yourself.  It may surprise you how many times the positive outweighs the negative.  

 

  • Don’t let your past situation define your present life or your future.  For example, making statements like “this will never change” or “it always goes bad when I’m involved” can cause you to feel defeated before you even begin a task.  One thing I have learned about life is that it is always changing and often unpredictable.  There is never a phase when development and growth aren’t possible.  Sometimes changes are minor and sometimes they are immense.  You need to be on the lookout for either circumstance.  

 

  • Be mindful of your feelings.  When we are stressed, we often tend to want to push past the feeling.  Take a moment.  Center yourself.  Ask yourself, “What am I feeling right now?” State the feeling out loud – anger, guilt, frustration.  Then implement self-care such as relaxation breathing or meditation/prayer.  

 

  • Many times, women will feel the need to care for others during stressful situations and neglect their own care.  Prioritizing others and not including yourself somewhere on the list can lead to feelings of resentment and anger.  Oftentimes putting others first is necessary, especially when you have children.  However, excluding yourself from the priority list completely can lead to burnout, resentment, and/ or depression.  Cry if you need to cry or laugh if you need to laugh.

One thing I have learned about life is that it is always changing and often unpredictable. There is never a phase when development and growth aren’t possible.

- Nicole Wallace

I often use the strategy of asking a client, “What would you say to a friend if she told you what you just told me?”  It is amazing how non-judgmental and caring the response often is to this question.  Changing your habits and inner dialogue is not easy.  It will take work, but think of the benefits.  If you are struggling in the area of being more self-compassionate and feel you need professional assistance, I encourage you to connect with a licensed therapist.

Nicole Wallace is a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor with over 20 years experience helping adults and children with overcoming trauma, managing life transitions, and developing coping skills. Nicole specializes in working with anxiety, depression, trauma, life transitions, and developing effective
parenting skills with women and children with trauma concerns, anxiety and depression. She provides caring, non-judgmental mental health services for children (5-12), adolescents (13-18),
and adults (18+). Her therapy uses techniques from a variety of therapy models depending on the client’s needs however, Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Client Centered are most commonly used. Nicole owns her own private practice called Transformation Counseling and Consulting.

Spread the word

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Medical Disclaimer: All content found on the HER Health Collective Website was created for informational purposes only and are the opinions of the HER Health Collective experts and professional contributors. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Website.  If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor, go to the emergency department, or call 911 immediately.

Login to your HER Circle account

Login