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Self-Compassion, A Fundamental Part Of Our Personal Growth Journey

Written by: Sofia Sevilla, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

Discomfort in life loss, pain, stress, anxiety, fear ‒ is inevitable. Usually, we feel hurt every time our identity, self-worth, or expectations are not being met or threatened. The more significant the gap between our expectations and reality, the highest amount of discomfort we feel. And it becomes more complicated when we resit to acknowledge the pain we are feeling.

Based on oriental ideologies, we suffer for two reasons: first, we resist or avoid feeling emotions that cause discomfort, and second, we deny our reality, aspiring to unreachable expectations. Frustration arises when we believe that things should be different from what they are. So there are two main antagonists for our daily well-being, resistance, and denial. Interestingly, the discomfort usually arises as a negative inner voice that has the power to undermine our self-worth.


To manage a core part of the human experience, the negative voice that lives inside us, we need to learn to be self-compassionate and mindful a fundamental part of our personal growth. It becomes very challenging to be functional when we consistently self-sabotage our present moment.


The easiest way to think about self-compassion is to have the ability to talk to ourselves like a loving, unconditional, good friend. Opposite to weakness, self-compassion helps us face difficult situations with resilience and cope better with uncomfortable or challenging situations. It's important to understand that self-compassion doesn't deny or make excuses for dysfunctional behaviors or mistakes; it's instead the full acceptance of the errors and taking responsibility and action towards its resolution.


The opposite of compassion is criticism. Whenever we receive criticism, the primitive or reptilian brain raises a red flag that alerts our identity or self-worth, which causes us to feel threatened. Criticism causes stress in our body and mind; that's why criticism is not an effective motivator because it undermines our confidence. Interestingly, when we self-criticize, we become the attacker and the attacked. On the other hand, self-compassion makes us feel safe and nurtured, allowing us to reach our goals with high personal standards and specific purposes.


It's important to differentiate between self-compassion and self-pity. Self-compassion understands that everyone has difficulties or problems in their lives, meaning we are less likely to feel victimized by our reality. It doesn't mean we deny our errors or justify our behaviors; with compassion, we can recognize, accept and deal with our mistakes in a smart, fulfilling, and loving way. In contrast, self-pity is the most straightforward form of victimization.


The good thing about self-compassion is that it is an ability we can all acquire and practice daily to expand our growth journey. Here you find three practices that you can start applying today.

  1. Talk to yourself like a good friend. By good friend, I mean a person that loves you unconditionally. A good friend is someone who helps you recognize your patterns, achieve your highest potential, encourages you to keep moving forward by learning from your mistakes, and can realize your shadows and acknowledge your lights. A good friend is a person by your side at all times, not only on your highest peaks but also at your lowest points. A good friend is someone who can tell you the truth without pity. And this good friend can be you. Imagine that you combine every person around you that loves you unconditionally, and this compassionate human figure lives inside you. This visualization helps you be self-sufficient by applying merciful, unconditional love to every step of your life.

  2. Be mindful and learn how to apply radical acceptance in your daily life. The idea behind mindfulness is the complete radical acceptance of our reality; this is why self-compassion means that we are not going to deny that something is going on; we are going to validate our pain. When we learn to be mindful, we understand the difference between being and doing—being means that we are aware of our surroundings and inner world and capable of being with ourselves compassionately. Mindfulness also means that we accept our present moment and learn how to comfort, soothe, calm or support our emotional and physical needs. It is to be aware of the pain, discomfort, and suffering that a given situation might cause you and experience radical acceptance, allowing ourselves to have a clear and wiser perspective. Then let self-compassion acknowledge your strengths, care for your needs and be kind to yourself.

  3. Pause and ask yourself: what do I need right now? And DO IT.

Let's connect and start your therapeutic process towards your true essence and self-compassionate being.


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Sofia Sevilla, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine Sofia Sevilla is a clinical psychologist with a focus on cognitive behavioral therapy and specialization in third-generation therapies, such as mindfulness, body therapy, and emotional wellbeing. She is also a Certified Yoga Teacher. In October 2020, after a few months of being confined because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sofia decided to join the wave of psychologists willing to work on improving the collective welfare of society. For which she developed a practical program with the purpose of improving the quality of life of her patients using scientifically based methods and tools. The program was designed to explore four areas of a person's life: the cognitive, emotional, bodily, and spiritual consciousness. Her purpose as a psychologist is to guide her patients through a path that leads to lasting wellbeing.

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