Many of us who want to make a positive impact on the world try to have compassion for other people. But how many of us ever think about directing that compassion toward ourselves? Probably very few. The idea usually brings up thoughts of being self-absorbed or self-centered.
But, what makes us less deserving of our compassion than other people? If we want to achieve a higher level of personal development, which includes real happiness and inner peace, then we need to be able to have compassion for all people, and that includes ourselves.
“If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.” — Buddha
In this article, I’ll show you how to practice self-compassion meditation, so you can realize happiness and inner peace. I’ll include a self-compassion meditation script with suggestions on how to use it for maximum effectiveness. But before we get into the practice, it would be a good idea to understand what self-compassion is, and its many benefits.
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What Is Self-Compassion?
When we have compassion for another person, we are aware of the person’s suffering, and we want to do something to alleviate it. This shows that we care enough about them to want to help.
Compassion also means that we are aware of the imperfect nature of being human. We realize that people have faults, and we don’t judge them harshly when they make mistakes.
As the term implies, self-compassion is compassion directed at ourselves. It is the same as compassion for another person. Intellectually, it sounds pretty straightforward, but actually putting it into practice can be a challenge.
So when we have self-compassion, we have an objective awareness of our own suffering, and we do what we can to ensure our well-being. In addition, we are not overly critical of ourselves, as we accept our mistakes and try to learn from them.
Self-Compassion Is Not Self-Pity
Self-pity is an egocentric wallowing in our own problems, where we usually dismiss any realistic solutions. We allow our feelings to consume us, and just want attention and pity from others.
With self-pity, we’re not able to see our problems objectively. We are too consumed by our emotions to see clearly. We’re in a state of mental and emotional confusion.
When we’re in self-pity, we don’t see our suffering in the broader context of the human condition. Therefore, we feel alone in our problems.
Self-Compassion Is Not Self-Indulgence
In our attempt to be good to ourselves, we may overindulge in activities that bring us pleasure. For example, we may reward ourselves for something good that happened to us by eating a quart of ice cream