By Dr. Nancy Buck (originally posted December 4, 2014)
Good relationships are built on many things, including accepting, encouraging, supporting and trusting one another. But a good relationship with others alone is not enough. Strong mental health that leads to happiness must include a good relationship with YOU. That means we each must consistently accept, encourage, support and trust ourselves most of all. For many this practice feels like a stretch.
Research suggests that most people have an easier time giving and supporting others with compassion than we do turning that inward. And studies link self-compassion to lower anxiety and depression. Another benefit is increased optimism, better relationships and greater overall satisfaction in life. This practice will improve your physical as well as mental health.
Here’s how to get started:
• Notice when you give or receive acceptance, encouragement, support or trust to or from another.
• Notice when you start discounting, discrediting, blaming or beating yourself up.
• As soon as you notice any of the above moments that lack self-compassion, immediately change to a kinder or gentler thought or statement.
• Continue to practice noticing how you give and receive these kindnesses to your family, friends and loved ones
• Continue to practice noticing and changing all moments of disrespect and lack of self-compassion