How To Practice Self Care, Self Compassion & Self Grace
Written By: Bosky Singh, Moms on Maternity Columnist.
To fall in love with yourself is the first secret to happiness. - Robert Morley
A few days ago, I gave into a rage. I shrieked and shouted at my little guy. These are trying times, enough to take a toll on anyone’s mental health and having to manage on all fronts with a proactive kid is not making it any easier. Like any other mother, I felt like the worst mom ever for shouting at him and was consumed with gigantic mom guilt. During that phase, I had a deep conversation with my Reiki Guru and we talked at length about self-care, self-compassion, and self grace and how to practice them. I thought it would be a wonderful idea to share these insights with my mom friends cause we all need it badly in our lives - sometimes without our even knowing it.
Have you ever felt like the worst person?
Have you ever felt like you are not worth it?
Have you ever been consumed with guilt for doing something you know you are not supposed to?
We all have gone through these situations at some point in our lives and the answer is simple to learn to forgive yourself and practice self-compassion, self-care and self-love. Don’t beat yourself up if you are late for a coffee date with friends or if you forgot some important date. Remember you too are human, have expectations of yourself but never at the cost of your worth. Don’t you forgive your friends, spouse, or kids…then why aren’t you worth the same compassion from yourself?
Now the question is, what is this much talked about self-care, compassion and self-love?
means being warm and understanding towards ourselves when we suffer, fail, or are in pain instead of ignoring our feelings of pain and inadequacy. We need to acknowledge our pain rather than putting up a brave face. It means having compassionate feelings towards ourselves. It allows you to have self-kindness when you know your behavior has not been so great.
There are three elements/components of self-compassion as per Dr. Kristin Neff, one of the world’s leading experts on self-compassion.
- Self-kindness: Self-compassionate people accept the fact that we all have our failings, difficulties, and they tend to be kind and gentle towards themselves instead of getting angry or upset when faced with difficult situations. They accept their inadequacies with kindness.
- Common humanity: Self-compassionate people recognize the fact we all make mistakes and have sufferings. They are not the only ones. It’s a normal human experience.
- Mindfulness: It means taking a balanced approach towards our negative feelings so that they are not exaggerated nor suppressed. It’s a non-judgemental receptive mind state.
means treating yourself with compassion. How self-love is different from self-compassion is similar to the distinction between thinking and doing. Recognizing your true value and worth and treating yourself the way you deserve.
means having a high regard for your well-being and happiness. Self-love is something you need to build on. It's valuing yourself as a person, as a human being. It means putting your mental, physical and emotional well-being first.
Self-love is more stable whereas self-compassion could be momentary.
Now the question arises how to practice all this?
- Talk to yourself in the mirror. Tell yourself you are worth the love and care. Smile and say ‘I love myself.’ Remember you are not being narcissistic when you do that you are just acknowledging your worth and building self-esteem.
- Comfort your body by eating what you love, pampering your body by a spa, or treating yourself to a massage or a Pedi-mani. Anything which would make you feel happy and relaxed and make you feel like your lovely self again. Again you are not being vain by taking care of your beautiful self.
- Writing: I love to write in my diary, journal, or the screen saver of my mobile.. it says I LOVE MYSELF. There's nothing wrong with loving myself and reminding ourselves of that now and then. Just remember how could I love others if I don’t love myself.
- Encouraging yourself: Encourage yourself the way you encourage others- your family, your kids, your friends, your peers.
I just love what Lalah Delia once said, ’SELF CARE is how you take your power back.’ Keep that in mind and I wish you all the power.
What else can we do to love ourselves?
- Treating, caring and talking to ourselves with love.
- Be as nice and kind to yourself as you would to others.
- Prioritize yourself.
- We all make mistakes. Give yourself a break. Stop judging yourself.
- Trust yourself: your decisions, your opinions, and choices.
- Embrace yourself the way you are and be happy about it.
- Stop comparing yourself to others and don’t worry about others’ opinions.
We all need and deserve self- compassion. Yes! We all make mistakes, act out, or do something really wrong and in times like these, we deserve self-compassion even more. WHY SO? The answer is simple, to have enough strength to identify our errors and be strong enough to rectify our mistakes and apologize to people we might have hurt or wronged.
As mothers and caregivers, we need to be gentler towards ourselves. I have seen mothers putting so much pressure on themselves, trying to do it all, and in the process forgetting themselves all together. We all make mistakes, give in to our sleep desires or forget something, or even at times lash out, in times like these we need to take a deep breath and be kind to ourselves and say, ’it's OK! I too am human; I too can make mistakes and deserve some self-love and care. I need to be compassionate with myself as well.’
Mommies, please indulge yourself in some compassionate loving self-care because you are worth it.
Remember,”How you love yourself is how you teach others to love you.” - Rupi Kaur.
Bosky Singh is Mom to one boy aged 4. She is a regular columnist for Moms on Maternity.