How to develop self-compassion?

We have heard this word quite often but do we really know or understand the exact meaning of this word ‘Compassion’. It is good to begin with the definition so that we can delve into it as we try to develop self-compassion.

As per dictionary.com, Compassion is a “feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering”. In short form, it can be said that the compassion means “to feel with….” For most of us, it’s easy to understand or ignore or forgive or be caring towards others rather than ourselves. Interestingly, if we work on developing the self-compassion it will also help us to remain compassionate towards others and perform better in life. It’s almost like, when we nurture and focus on the roots of the plant its flowers, leaves, branches, stem, and fruits will also grow well.

So how can we learn to be kind to ourselves? First of all, taking out some time and indulging in positive but realistic self-talk, such as:

  1. Acknowledging that you are a human. Despite extensive education, experience or maturity there is always a possibility for error because success is the result of a calculated combination of multiple factors, not just you or your performance.
  2. To counterargue some perceived or real failure, think about your successes in chronological order. Don’t be shy or underrate your performances and successes.
  3. Take responsibility for your actions, accept it but also think over why did it happen? Were you stressed out? Were you burnt out? Did you receive help on time? Did you receive expected support from team/management/family/friends? Did you take on some work which was beyond your competency? By digging deeper, you will be able to realize that you focused more on the goal, not on yourself!
  4. Make a list of your strengths and good qualities. Embrace and enjoy reading this list. Now ask yourself what am I doing to upgrade and polish myself?
  5. If you still feel low about yourself, look for real-life examples when you displayed those qualities/strengths at an extraordinary level. Feel proud of yourself and plan how will you take care of yourself so that goodness in you do not die.
  6. Make a list of activities which you always wanted to do but couldn’t do. Categorize these activities or dreams into short-term goals or long-term goals. Plan, how will you get closer to your dream.
  7. At home, pick one wall or corner which should display your rewards, letters of appreciation, certificates, prizes, pictures of any accomplishment (such as completed project) and notes of gratitude or praise conveyed by others to you. Look at them, feel proud of yourself and fall in love with yourself J

This is just a small list. There could be many more ways to develop self-compassion depending on one’s creativity and perspective.

At the same time, you may also feel some mental blocks to value, respect and care for yourself. You may find yourself questioning too. If so happened, please feel free to explore deeper with a psychotherapist like me. You and I will sit together and look into the possible causes of you finding it hard to develop self-compassion and self-love.

Please feel free to reach me at 604-377-6033 or info@rheacounselling.com

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Who is an effective counsellor?

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Looking for help can be a tough task especially looking for a counsellor of your match. Numerous research have identified that feeling connected with therapist is one of the significant factor for the effectiveness of therapy and long lasting positive change in client’s life. Therefore, it’s relevant and important to spend some time to identify/understand qualities of an effective counsellor. An effective counsellor is:

◾Someone who is competent and skilled in delivering one or more therapeutic approaches as per their interest and expertise.

◾Someone who is non-judgemental, empathetic and insightful in recognising and helping you to overcome your weaknesses, self-imposed limitations and negative beliefs.

◾Someone who is supportive and knows how to develop your strengths.

◾Someone who is professional and reliable to provide a safe atmosphere where painful memories could be shared unhesitatingly.

◾Someone who is able to understand and respect your cultural values and help you to steer around those values.

◾Someone who is inherently dedicated and passionate to help you on this journey of inner transformation. A therapeutic journey with a right counsellor can really be life changing.

Of course, you need to meet and spend some sessions (on average 3-6 sessions) to recognise and feel above mentioned qualities in your counsellor. It is equally possible that you felt the need to meet a new counsellor every couple of months in this search for right match for yourself but you will be learning new skills and different perspectives from each one of them which is not bad at all.

Please allow me to offer you my helping hand on your path of self-discovery and see how far we can walk together. It’s time to call (+1 604-377-6033)

Why don’t we love ourselves and take care of ourselves?

In my practice as mental health practitioner, I noticed that most of my clients are unaware about significance of self-care. I often ask them this question – if you have only one car, how long will you be able to use it without paying any attention to its maintenance or oil change or by keep ignoring any weird signs, sounds etc.….We all know the reply here.

Then why are we so hard on ourselves, so ignorant or “selectively ignorant” to pay any attention to our needs (physical, emotional, sexual and intellectual). We are so much untruthful especially to our emotional needs. We do not go to see psychologist/counsellor until our symptoms get worsened and declared as some mental disorder by the psychiatrist/physician. We keep avoiding issues. We keep dragging and living life in same manner no matter how we feel about ourselves. Why?

Well, there could be various reasons behind lack of self-care regime which differs with every individual. Some of these could be:

  • That’s how I was raised;
  • That’s what I believe about myself such as I am strong enough OR I have been through many things before;
  • That’s my personality putting others first;
  • Negative beliefs such as it’s selfish to pay too much attention on myself OR I don’t need it, I will be fine etc.
  • Self-created excuses such as I don’t have time, I don’t care, what difference it makes.

All of above mentioned causeswhich decline self-care are there, less or more, in each one of us; but there is one more hidden factor which is closely related to lack of self-compassion and low self-esteem. This factor is “our inner critic”. This inner critic is nothing but our own “self”. It is the statements of this inner critic which discourage us from doing anything for ourselves until we break down. Many of us might have heard this inner critic, especially before doing anything new in our life, such as – “You are fat or _ _ _, Nothing is gonna work for you. Everyone hates you anyways, what’s the point of doing it. You tried it many times and failed every time, why are you doing it again. You are born like this, nothing could change it etc. etc.”

Interestingly, if you think deeper, all of these statements are not originally created by you. They were created by others at some point of your life; may be your mom or dad or sibling or friend or partner. Then how come it becomes your statement, which is coming from your head now? Because you believed in them, you believed in those people, you believed in their judgements-more than yourself. It occurred due to low self-confidence or may be you were too young to argue or challenge their statements. It further loweredyour self-confidence and efforts of self-care. Slowly these statements resided inside you as a belief and created that inner critic who keep destroying your self-confidence, self-image and self-esteem. This inner critic keep prohibiting you from doing anything for yourself?

So now, how to get rid of this inner critic or lifelong negative beliefs about self? How to learn self-care and develop self-compassion? How to build self-confidence and self-esteem?

Well, it’s not as hard as it sounds. There are many therapeutic interventions which can help you challenge your deep negative beliefs and start loving yourself, indulge you in self-care and make that inner critic your best friend. It will be an internal journey where I will walk with you to help you explore, connect and love yourself!