"Complimenting yourself through your own kind words is necessary and useful. Not just having a quick positive thought towards yourself then brushing it away, but taking the time and effort to articulate a few sentences can make quite the difference."
Kind is a buzz word these days. I come across the concept of self-compassion regularly in my day to day as well. All wonderful ideas that intuitively make sense. Until very recently though, I’m not sure I knew how to actually exercise self-compassion and fully engage in being kind to myself.
During a guided meditation session, the instructor encouraged me to pay a compliment to myself, as if I was complimenting a loved one. Going through a somewhat difficult work challenge at the time, I silently whispered, “despite your worries and uncertainties regarding the future, the fact that you’ve come this far in following your passion is incredible and already a success worth celebrating.”
After those words were articulated in my head, I felt a short jolt of shock. I realized it might actually be the first time in my 40-something life that I deliberately paid myself a direct compliment! Having been raised in Seoul where humility is the highest virtue, I’ve been trained to always cut myself down. Even if you don’t actually mean it, at least with words, you should never elevate yourself.
However, this simple gesture of actually saying something nice to myself in the midst of an emotionally difficult period profoundly helped me. We’re already wired to look at our faults, focus on our mistakes, think about what might go wrong.
Reminding yourself through your own kind words of your accomplishments and beautiful qualities is necessary and useful. Not just having a quick positive thought or feeling towards yourself then brushing it away, but actually taking the time and effort to articulate a few sentences can make quite the difference.
This self-compassionate inner dialogue reset my mood and established the tone for a lighter day. My morning coffee tasted yummier, the scent of my chai tea candle was better than ever and even Moo’s fur felt softer and cozier. Even vis-à-vis my immediate challenges, I could approach them with a more balanced perspective.
I wondered why it had taken me so long to pay myself a compliment when I would have easily given dozens to myself had I been a friend, or even stranger. It was another opportunity to realize the slightest of discoveries can have long lasting impact. There’s always more to learn in life, not through books or classes, but through simple observation and the smallest acts of curiosity.
I want to also point out that the type of self-compassion that I’m talking about is different from general selfcare. For the latter, it can be helpful to indulge in a holistic nighttime skincare ritual or take 15 minutes for a blissful maskitation session.
I’ve always been good with selfcare (hence my skincare addiction!) but am finding that I’m lacking in deeper self-compassion, which to me includes actively thinking and sending yourself kind messages. In addition to words, some people have mentioned the simple gesture of cupping your face or putting a hand to your heart and reassuring yourself can do wonders.
Ready to explore some self-compassion for yourself, you wonderful, fabulous and worthy person, you? Take a few moments to see the entirety of yourself objectively. Then look in the mirror and say something nice to that dear friend staring back at you!