Let’s be real. This year has been really tough for many of us. We’ve felt a whole range of emotions due to the pandemic: disappointment, anger, grief, fear, sadness, anxiety, and more. It can be easy to feel down on ourselves as the year comes to a close. We may feel discouraged that we didn’t accomplish all we had hoped in 2020 and may even blame ourselves for some of the things out of our control. The truth of the matter is that we have all collectively struggled through the uncertainty of this time. However, it doesn’t help us to be hard on ourselves for any of it. When reflecting on this year, it’s important to practice self-compassion and find ways to be there for ourselves in the new year.
What exactly does it mean to have self-compassion? It means being gentle, kind and understanding with ourselves. With self-compassion, we are can accept that we are not perfect and understand that there’s potential to learn and grow from our past mistakes or experiences. Having self-compassion is important because with it we are more likely to form greater social connectedness, emotional intelligence, and become overall more happy and satisfied with the lives we live. Self-compassion also means we are less likely to feel shame, fear of failure, anxiety or depression.
When we are kind and accepting of ourselves, especially in trying times, we can find better ways to manage our stressors and build more resilience. There’s many ways to practice self-compassion. Much of it has to do with the inner dialogue we have with ourselves. One useful way to become more in tune with ourselves and foster self-compassion is through mindfulness.
Try This Guided Practice
- Start out in a comfortable posture and close your eyes if you’d like.
- Now, bring to mind a challenging moment or something that’s been weighing heavily for you. Notice how it feels.
- Take note if your critical voice starts speaking and really notice what it’s saying. Now, use a more compassionate voice to name the experience in a way that feels true to you. Think about kind words you may offer to a friend, a child, or someone you care about.
- Next, bring to mind some words of connection, to remind you that you’re not alone. This year has been hard for us, we’re all struggling and none of us are perfect. Rest your hands over your heart or give yourself a gentle hug, and remind yourself you’re not alone.
- Lastly, allow yourself to let it all go. Forgive yourself, be patient with yourself, be kind to yourself, and recognize that you deserve this compassion.
You can repeat this practice during the more stressful times. It can help a lot to name our experiences and remember that we’re not alone.