P1110571Self-compassion is the ability to love and accept ourselves just as we are. If we habitually berate ourselves for less-than-perfect behavior or appearance, we cannot feel it, because we don’t feel deserving. And when we don’t feel deserving we lean more towards destructive, rather than healthy habits.

If we can’t feel compassion for ourselves, it’s not possible to feel it for anyone else – except, perhaps, our offspring. The capacity for compassion is innate in both animals and human beings, and parenthood is a prime example. While it comes easy for most parents (and maybe also for those who choose professions that require compassion) somehow, we find it harder to feel it for those people we don’t have to care for – and that includes ourselves.

Research has shown that cultivating self-compassion can help us attain P1110994wellness and exercise intentions that last. Try these mindful tips so you can experience life with more fulfillment and better health, along with a greater willingness to connect to others in a more empathetic and authentic way:

  1. Awareness: Slow down to increase awareness of the world around you. Don’t just look, see: So you can realize that we all suffer from the same afflictions. Don’t just hear, listen: Even if you disagree, listen as if you are the only one who has taken the time – you won’t become irritated if you keep the compassion alive. Connect to your breath to give you a pause when emotions arise, so you can respond wisely rather than reactively.

  2. Acceptance: Accept the present moment just as it is, not wishing it were something different. Stop striving for perfection and learn to love your imperfect self, just as you are. Befriend your emotions with compassion so you can accept difficult aspects of yourself: Without this willingness to connect to your own feelings, it’s impossible to feel compassion for others.

  3. Balance: When we get caught up in the whirlwind of doing too much, stress and negativity build-up and we get out of balance. Learn to say “no” to taking on more commitments and instead, make time for things that fulfill you and bring you joy. When we are able to give to ourselves, we are more inclined to give back that same compassion to others.