Allah loves kindness and gentleness in all matters, so we should manifest these qualities even when we face abuse and cruelty. On one occasion, the Prophet was insulted and cursed by his enemies but he did not return their curse. Islam has insisted to render services for orphans. They are not in a position to make their living as they have lost their guardians. That’s why Allah has commanded to take care of their needs and to treat them with kindness.
Managing anxiety is a balancing act. To practice, self-compassion is to acknowledge that you are not alone in your experiences and that your struggles are part of what makes you human. Many generously show compassion towards friends and family and accept it gratefully when it is shown in return. It feels good to give and to receive this type of care. It’s easy to forget it takes a lot of courage to face our difficult feelings head on and actually feel them.
If we only focus on the feeling of disappointment because of a mistake, it can be incredibly difficult to take action. If you decide that you are a disappointment, then it can feel like nothing you do will make much of a difference to improve your situation. Changing your mindset can restore hope that the future can look different and that you can bring about change. With increased hope comes increased motivation for change.
Here are some strategies that can help you be more self-compassionate:
- Think about what you would tell a friend in the same situation. Really listen to your words of encouragement and comfort. Repeat them to yourself.
- Imagine sitting with someone you trust. Think about what they would tell you. Close your eyes and hear their words of kindness and caring. When your doubtful thoughts come up and try to knock down that kind, caring words, notice the negativity and bring your focus back to the positive words.
- Take back the power in your life by choosing to experiment with change. Critical thoughts steal our motivation and energy for change. Identify the first steps you could take to make positive changes in your life and try not to judge the size of your first step.
- Work with a supportive therapist or counselor. Therapists and counselors can remind you that you are not alone in your struggle and can help you to give yourself permission to make mistakes. They can guide your practice of self-compassion and help you with the first three strategies.
- You’ll have less stress: We’re all pretty hard on ourselves, criticizing everything from our thighs to our parking job to our off-hand comments at work. And it’s not without consequences.
- You’ll lower your heart rate: People are threatened when they’re struggling, so the natural threat response is to attack the problem—which in this case is yourself.
- You’ll boost your immune function
- You’ll be less anxious and depressed
- You’ll stick with your weight-loss goals
- You’ll cope better with chronic pain
- You’ll rewire your brain
- You’ll be more motivated to exercise
- Your caregivers won’t burn out
- You can better handle life’s challenges
- If your compassion does not include yourself, then it is incomplete
- Give Yourself Recognition. Often, we’re quick to acknowledge the achievements of others but slow to acknowledge our own. That has to stop. Become aware of your own achievements and give yourself recognition.
- Cultivate Your Inner Advocate. We’re all familiar with the inner critic. It’s that little voice in our heads that’s quick to judge and is always ready with a put-down. Well, it’s time for your inner critic to meet your inner advocate.
- Forgive Yourself. We all mess up. Look at the following:
- Maybe you did something in the past that you’re not proud of.
- Perhaps you failed to stand up for yourself and you let someone else get the better of you.
- You may have missed a great opportunity because you got scared.
- Maybe you failed to follow through on an important goal.
- Remind Yourself of Your Good Qualities. Maybe you’re a little heavier than “the ideal body type”, but you have long, lustrous hair. Maybe you’re not great at sports, but you’re an ace at math. Maybe you have a tendency to be melodramatic, but you have a great sense of humor. Always remind yourself of your good qualities.
- Lift Yourself Up. When you fail, make a mistake, or do something wrong, you have two choices. You can tear yourself down, or you can lift yourself up. People who are kind to themselves choose the latter. Tell yourself it’s going to be OK. Give yourself a morale boost by reminding yourself of your past successes. Then, come up with a plan for dealing with what happened, and take action.
- Honor Your Dreams. People who respect themselves–people who are kind to themselves–honor their dreams. That is, they don’t downplay their dreams by labeling them as silly fantasies. Instead, they take their dreams seriously by turning those dreams into goals and creating a plan for achieving those goals.
- Find the Sweet Spot Between Acceptance and Striving. Part of being kind to yourself is acknowledging your potential. As was stated in the previous point, you should know what you want and go after it. However, never being satisfied with where you are, or with what you have achieved so far in life, is being unkind to yourself. Be kind to yourself by finding the sweet spot between being happy with who you are, while taking action to become even better.
- Stop Trying to Be Perfect
- Show Yourself Compassion
- Believe In Yourself. Part of being kind to yourself is wanting the best for yourself. And in order to get the best, you have to believe in yourself. Have faith in your own abilities and in your own judgment. Think highly of yourself: belief in yourself.
Ways to be Kind to Yourself
Don’t be too hard on yourself: If you feel anxious, you are human. Being human means being vulnerable, messy, intense, and even confusing. At times, our emotions may not make ‘logical’ sense to us. Emotions may seem to come out of nowhere or feel really overwhelming or hard to deal with.
Feeling bad about feeling bad: Not only do we sometimes experience difficult emotions like anxiety, panic, frustration, embarrassment, etc… but then we also feel bad about how we are feeling: “What’s WRONG with me?”, “WHY am I feeling like this?”, “Just get it together and snap out of it!” This type of self-judgment can add another layer of suffering. It can feel like somehow we are failing, or that we are weak or defective.
Accepting what is: You’ve probably heard people talk about ‘acceptance’ as an important first step when trying to understand or change something. Acceptance does not mean that you ‘agree with’ everything that is happening to you or that you ‘like’ feeling difficult emotions. Acceptance means that you accept that you feel what you feel. You accept what IS happening, rather than trying to run away from it, fight it, deny it, or attempting to be someone that you are not.
Self-compassion: As you start to be more accepting of things, you may even begin to feel some compassion for yourself. This might be difficult at first, especially if you tend to be hard on yourself. Try to ease off a little bit and see yourself as just someone trying to deal with life challenges and get your needs met the best way you can. Everyone has bad days, makes mistakes, and acts in ways they regret. But, there is always tomorrow and another chance to try again.
Here are some things you may want to ask yourself or think about:
- Can I be more gentle or compassionate with myself and what I’m experiencing? If not, what’s getting in my way?
- What am I afraid might happen if I stop beating myself up and start cutting myself some slack?
- Am I more understanding of people I care about and what they’re going through than I am with myself? If yes, why do I think this is?
- What are the costs and benefits of being so hard on myself?
If this idea of self-compassion is new to you, it may feel a bit strange. It may take some time to start thinking in new ways and being kinder to yourself. A good first step is just to simply notice how you talk to or treat yourself. Just be curious about it.
When you are experiencing difficult situations or emotions, you may want to develop some compassionate phrases to say to yourself like:
- I am doing the best I can.
- I am a work in progress and I am constantly learning and growing.
- Suffering is a part of life.
- This is really painful. But, everyone feels this way sometimes. It’s part of being human.
- Let me try to be as compassionate and understanding as I would be to someone else.
Try treating yourself with some compassion when you find yourself struggling. Take a hot shower or a bubble bath, put on some comfy clothes, treat yourself to your favorite food or drink, listen to some music, cuddle with a pet, hug someone, or even give yourself a little foot or shoulder massage.
Emotions come in waves and move through as – they rise and fall. Sure, there are things we can do to help ride out these waves – like keeping a balanced perspective on things and using helpful coping strategies – but beating yourself up for something you can’t control doesn’t really make much sense. Though so many of us do.
It is also accepting that suffering is inevitable, and that occasional pain, anxiety, or frustration is not a sign that you are doing something wrong. No one can be happy all the time. It is impossible to get through life avoiding difficult emotions – and trying to pull off this impossible goal can actually create more suffering!
When people are more accepting and compassionate towards their anxiety and other emotions, they feel a certain amount of relief. In fact, people who are more accepting and self-compassionate report feeling less depressed and anxious, and are generally happier. Many people also say they feel more connected to other people, and realize that we are all stumbling through life together. Learning to be more accepting and compassionate with ourselves is an important step in coping better with anxiety.