Love melts all blockages.

Whether directed inward

in the form of self-compassion,

or outward

in the form of forgiveness or understanding,

love conquers all.

Dawn Gluskin

Psychological studies have confirmed the wisdom that has long been taught in Buddhism and several other traditions, that developing more compassion for yourself will make you happier and more successful at achieving your goals. Whatever your spiritual beliefs, these are some of the benefits of self-compassion and methods for attaining them.

Benefits

1. Experience greater happiness. Self-compassion means valuing yourself and treating yourself well. You are bound to feel better when you remove the negative self-talk and become a better friend to yourself.

2. Accomplish your goals more easily. There is no need to criticize yourself about your inability to eliminate bad habits. Accept your flaws and focus on action plans that are realistic for you. If you break your diet, take a breath, and start again with the next meal. If you are denied one job opening, beef up your resume so that you are ready for the next opportunity.

3. Become more resilient. Accept that life is full of ups and downs. Learn to do a better job of taking them in stride instead of being derailed by self-pity. You will bounce back faster when you realize that challenges and setbacks are as inevitable as rainy days.

4. Feel more motivated. When you learn to value yourself, you will feel more committed to making investments in your own future. Giving yourself the freedom to make mistakes goes a long way in reducing the anxiety that holds you back from trying new things.

5. Feel more connected with others. The philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer suggested that we call each other “my fellow sufferer.” When we realize that we all want to be happy, but that we also often need to become more skillful at creating happiness, we recognize just how much we have in common with everyone around us.

6. Express more compassion towards others. If you are gentle with yourself, you are much more likely to carry that mindset into your interactions with loved ones as well as strangers. You will be more mindful of the challenges we all face and have a stronger desire to help others.

Methods: How do I develop more compassion for myself?

1. Dump the myths about self-compassion. You may associate being gentle with being lazy. But with compassion, you are channeling your time and energy into constructive activities rather than wasting time beating up on yourself.

2. Take charge of your emotions. Accepting disappointments as normal part of life enables you to remain at peace. You can accept your true feelings without letting them overwhelm you.

3. Change your self-talk. We sometimes say things to ourselves that we would regard as being too hurtful to say to anyone else. Focus on giving yourself practical suggestions rather than calling yourself names.

4. Relax. Create an environment where you can generate compassion. Reduce stress and transition into a better frame of mind with meditation or some soft music.

5. Treat yourself to something nice. Just like you bring a nice meal over to a sick friend, look for ways to be your own benefactor. Brew a cup of your favorite tea or commiserate with yourself if you get stuck in heavy traffic.

6. Surround yourself with positive role models. If you feel like you have been conditioned to be harsh with yourself as the only way to get results, you may need to surround yourself with reminders to stay on your new path. Watch people who seem compassionate and learn to adapt some their methods to your own situation. Read books or take a workshop on compassion.

It is a great deal easier to overcome difficult situations when you learn to cherish and comfort yourself. Practicing self-compassion will bring you greater peace of mind and closer to your life goals.

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