Self- Compassion Is Just As Important As Compassion For Others

Over the past year, I have written a few journal entries exploring self-compassion, and what it is I like about myself. It turned over a few revelations which I am forever grateful for. This past week, I had the pleasure of meeting with a life coach to discuss their role and what led them to this career path. Leading up to this call, I had been exploring the idea of life and wellness coaching thanks to my own personal mindfulness journey. It was amazing to hear how similar our values are, and how we both appreciate the holistic nature of medicine. How caring for our mental well being is just as important as our physical well being. This is an important discussion point, particularly in my field of physical therapy, due to the emphasis we place of physical well being. We are considered movement and biomechanics experts, but we often forget this mind-body relationship.

Now without going into too much detail about this mind-body relationship, we can be aware of this idea. Ever heard the saying, “trust your gut?” Well it’s true. Our gut makes up 70% of our immune system, and literally has a “mind” of its own. Over the past year, through learning about self-compassion, I have become more aware of just how special this relationship is. It’s easy as healthcare providers to get caught up in caring for others. I mean, it’s in our job description. But what happens when we don’t care for ourselves? What happens when we place more emphasis on our physical well being and little to no attention on our mental well being. We end up missing out on a major piece of this puzzle we call oneself, and through self-compassion, we can begin to put the full pieces together.

A helpful exercise to try is starting a journal entry with the question, “what do you like about yourself?” If that’s not jiving with you, try “who are you?”. These are questions we often ask others, but rarely if ever ask ourselves. I know when I first asked myself this question, I felt so uncomfortable, almost like my mind and body was putting up an invisible wall of resistance (we’ll cover this in a later post). I want to share with you my words of self-compassion, maybe as direction to start your practice.

“What do you like about yourself?”

I like that I am caring and compassionate for others. I like that I am learning to love myself, and that I am actively caring for myself so I can care more for others. I like that I am healthy physically, and learning to appreciate my mental health more and more each day. I like that I am becoming more vulnerable, and healing myself through expressing and sharing my words and thoughts. I like that I can appreciate differences and change, and have awareness when I may be judging, rather than being curious. I appreciate my faults as much as my strengths, and understand that suffering is OK, and through suffering I can appreciate joy and happiness more.

This self compassion exercise is a fun tool to learning more about yourself, and appreciating yourself as much as you appreciate others 🙂

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