“….when we expect other people to meet all our emotional needs, we get angry and frustrated when those needs aren’t met, especially right away.
“….What’s beautiful about self-compassion is you can meet a lot of your own needs.
“….If you validate your own emotions and give yourself compassion for them, for instance, “This is really hard. I feel really overwhelmed. I’m so angry. It’s so hard to be feeling this…but it’s going to be okay.” This is like giving yourself support: “I’m here for you, and I care about you.” You’re giving yourself a lot of what you really need, and when you do that, you aren’t so needy or dependent on your partner to give you the response you want.
“….Self-criticism activates the threat defense system, releases cortisol, and causes a lot of anxiety. It’s like a stressed state of the sympathetic nervous system. Self-compassion activates the mammalian care-giving system. This makes us feel soothed and comforted and meets that attachment need. In some ways you can say, we are meeting our own attachment needs, which we also know helps us to have better relationships as well as activate the parasympathetic nervous system, so we’re in a calmer state.”
Excerpt on a discussion: Practicing Kindness Toward Oneself: Mindfulness and the Science of Self-Compassion. A webinar session with Dr. Ruth Buczynski and Dr. Kristin Neff.
Here’s my suggestion on how to be more self-compassionate.
1. Tend to your emotions:
Acknowledge your feelings without judgment. Just feel it and experience it without trying to get rid of it. Look at it curiously so that you are looking at what you are going through more objectively. Remember to soften your eyes as you do it.
2. Tend to your thoughts:
When you have thoughts that are negative, say “It’s just a thought. It doesn’t mean it’s true.” Also tell yourself “It’s going to be okay and it will pass.” It may help to think of what you would say to a loved one who is going through a painful time. How would you comfort that person? If there are no words, just say “I’ll be here with you. It’s okay whatever you are feeling and for however long it takes.”
3. Emotion will return:
You may feel better but only briefly. The thoughts may come up again and again. It’s okay. Just repeat 1 and 2 until it’s no longer an issue. You’ll feel nurtured. When you keep doing this, your compassion will spread towards others.