My massage therapist and I talked about self-compassion — and how little I have — for most of my last 90 minute massage. I wrote this post in 2005 and have improved some, but have a long way to go. (As evidenced by my evaluation of my progress toward self-compassion.
A new study indicates that having compassion for oneself may help people deal with life’s difficulties. Although the examined specific instances of failure, the findings may also help us learn to live with illness. Not that we’re failures because we’re sick, but that the self-blame that chronic illness invites is similar.
“If life is a journey, we all run into potholes, and new research shows that those jolts might not be so bad if you treat yourself with compassion.
“In other words, lighten up on yourself when failure comes your way. Self-compassion might even help more than high self-esteem, report researchers from Wake Forest University.”
I hadn’t thought of it as self-compassion, but one of my newer methods for coping with headache is to try to avoid blaming or criticizing myself for having them or for letting them affect my life. Notice the words “try to” in that sentence. Success is often elusive, but I don’t berate myself as often or as severely as I once did. These baby steps feel like a huge accomplishment. And I’m much more comfortable in my skin if I have compassion for myself.
(To read more details of the study, see Psychologist Finds Self-Compassion Helps People Cope with Failure)