The power of self-compassion

The power of self-compassion

Written on 05/03/2021
Sarah Evangeline

Accepting our God-given identities brings healing

Written by Sarah Evangeline

When I was a young girl, I played in the forest and wildflowers, pretending I was a princess on my unicorn, coming to save people from an evil villain. I’d get bruises and scrapes all the time. But I always got back up again because I had a mission to save the world from destruction.

Slowly, as I got older that brave and bold young girl faded. I became fearful, timid, and conformed to society’s standards. I settled for a less-than version of myself so I could fit in. I slowly forgot who I was and who I wanted to be.

As children, when we fall we get back up. As adults, we sometimes lose that boldness. We can be afraid to even take the first step.

Your beliefs about yourself create your experience of reality. If your beliefs aren’t true, you’ll see a distorted world.

Of course we all fall down. We live in a world marred by evil. We must accept this and the fact that we will fail at times.

We need to remember the truth that we are still loved by God and others, even when we make mistakes.

How we speak to ourselves when we fall down can determine how we get back up again. An important aspect of this inner conversation is that it has to include self-compassion.

According to the Centre for Clinical Interventions, self-compassion is a “basic kindness with deep awareness of the suffering of oneself and of other living things.”

It involves recognizing that even though humans are flawed and fragile, they deserve love as creatures made in God’s image. Self-compassion is strongly linked to our mental health and well-being. Compassion is also linked to the hormone oxytocin which is often called the love hormone.

It helps to make time to practise self-compassion. We need space to introspect, reflect, and sit with our emotions. Self-compassion is a key ingredient in having a healthier lifestyle. But we won’t discover this if we find our identity in being busy.

Self-compassion has four key elements:

Awareness

Be attentive or sensitive to the possibility of internal suffering. Is there something you haven’t forgiven yourself for yet? Is there anger or bitterness that could be causing your suffering? Are you trying to control a particular outcome? What is holding you back from loving who you are today?

Normalization

Pain is individual but also universal. Have you accepted that failure is a part of life? Are you blaming yourself for something that is out of your control? Wherever there is self-judgment, what truth of grace can you replace it with?

Kindness

Painful emotions cannot be ignored. They need to be met with care, warmth, and concern. Think of this emotion as a friend sitting next to you or standing in front of you. What level of care and love would you show this friend? Instead of saying “I’m sad” or “I’m anxious,” try saying: “I notice I’m feeling sad.” Then ask yourself, “What is this sadness trying to teach me?”

Alleviation

Provide further comfort and caring actions. What is a true statement about yourself? The next time you fall down, have that truth ready so you can speak it over your life, helping you to get back up. Start speaking it to yourself today.

I encourage you to celebrate yourself because God has made you and sustained you to this moment. Remember He has created you with a purpose; you carry this purpose with you as you grow. Find what makes life vibrant for you and take that first step toward it. Speak to yourself and your body is if you are a precious gift. Because you are!

“Our strongest thought is what determines our future,” according to Craig Groeschel on Instagram. I’ve found this to be true. If this thought is godly and true, it can direct us toward Christ.

When I renewed the way I talked to myself, it transformed my faith. It gave me awareness and compassion for myself and for the world. I finally felt like I could belong anywhere despite what was going on around me.

Believing in Jesus allowed me to be grounded in my values and made me believe I can be authentic about the person He is helping me become. Today, I see more beauty in the world. I see more colour, more opportunities, more music, and I believe anything is possible.

As adults, we are allowed to be playful, to dance, to ask questions, to use our imaginations, and to stand in complete awe of our Creator. We are fearfully and wonderfully made.