Self Compassion Part 3

Written by: Meaghan Highway, LMHC

“We become what we repeatedly do.” (Sean Covey)

In this three-part series about self compassion, we’ve identified: that we are made in the imago Dei (image of God); that we are capable of great things; and that there are concrete steps we can take to become aware of our thoughts, which can lead to productive change. This final installment seeks to answer a huge question: what now?
When we look at the challenge of implementing greater self compassion as a way of life, we need look no further than the quote by Sean Covey at the top of this article: we become what we repeatedly do. Therefore, if we make daily efforts to practice self compassion (which builds off of awareness of our innate worth, and that we have the capacity to change our inner dialogue), over time we will see growth.
Think back to a time when you were growing up and had to learn something new, perhaps as a scholastic requirement. Let’s pick playing a musical instrument. Some people are naturally gifted in this area, and others are not. Like all habits, some come more easily to us than others might – and this is further indicative of our uniqueness. If we were required to learn an instrument in school, we might have approached it rather grudgingly – we did it for a grade, as a prerequisite for graduation, or maybe because we needed an extra-curricular. Others may have willingly taken to the musical arena, knowing they were naturally apt and that it would be an easy experience. No matter how you approached learning this habit of playing an instrument, there were undoubtedly benefits from pursuing this area in your life: it taught you consistency (through reinforced regular practice), it taught you creativity (even if it didn’t come naturally learning this medium fosters creativity in other realms as well), and it may have taught you grace under pressure (if you had to perform with your instrument in front of an audience or your class, for example).
The same can be said for practicing self compassion – it rarely comes naturally to people, but that does not mean that it’s beyond us. Also, we move forward with the belief and hope that it can contribute gains to our lives simply by continued reinforcement over time. One of the most important elements of regularly practicing self compassion is having compassion for ourselves when we fail to use it. Like any other new habit, we will forget to use it, and we will catch ourselves speaking negatively towards ourselves at times. But take heart – at least you ‘caught’ yourself speaking negatively (vs. going forward completely on auto-pilot), and at that moment you are given the gift of being able to ‘begin again.’ In the moments when we do not practice self compassion and then realize it, instead of berating ourselves for ‘slipping up,’ we have the choice of practicing self compassion even in that moment.
As part of your self compassion practice, consider making affirmation cards. Some examples to put on index cards:
? Verses that are important to you.
? Single words that hold meaning, i.e. peace, compassion, grace, love.
? Phrases that remind us of who we are, i.e. I am a person of great worth.
These reminder cards can be placed where you will see them regularly – like your bathroom mirror, wallet, or car dashboard. Whenever you come across them, read them over – and you will be further internalizing your commitment to practicing self compassion in your life.
Finally, remind yourself that you are not alone in your endeavor of growing in the area of self compassion. God is proud of you for making this effort, and is willing to help you beyond your own limits. Relax into the realization that He is in your corner, and will be with you as you continue to practice the habit of self compassion.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this blog is intended to educate, inform and entertain. This does not represent psychotherapy, therapeutic assessment, or any other form of therapeutic intervention. This should not be used as a substitute for consultation and treatment with a licensed mental health professional. If you have questions related to the material contained in this site please contact CCM or a licensed mental health professional of your choice.

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