We live in a culture that often equates our success and value with appearances and achievements. In such a context, we may find ourselves striving for perfection and judging ourselves (and others) harshly when we fall short. Our self-esteem becomes dependent on impossible standards and we may feel shame that we are "not enough". Even when we realize that relating to ourselves this way is toxic, such patterns can be hard to break. How can we develop new attitudes and habits that honor and nurture our best selves?
In her TED talk exploring differences between self-esteem and self-compassion, Dr. Kristin Neff shares three key approaches to building a healthy relationship with yourself:
- Be kind to yourself - Treat yourself with the same kindness, courtesy and hospitality as you would a dear friend.
- Embrace your humanity - Celebrate yourself as a part of the human family — full of mystery, imperfections and apparent contradictions.
- Cultivate mindfulness - Notice what is so about your experience, and allow space for it to be just as it is, without judgement.
How might you incorporate these approaches into your life?
If you are interested in building greater self-compassion, here are 20 quotes to inspire you on your journey:
"People sometimes think that self-compassion is self-indulgent or selfish, but it's not. Because the more we are able to keep our hearts open to ourselves, the more we have available to give to others. " ~ Dr. Kristin Neff
"Loving yourself...does not mean being self-absorbed or narcissistic, or disregarding others. Rather it means welcoming yourself as the most honored guest in your own heart, a guest worthy of respect, a lovable companion." ~ Margo Anand
"Friendship with one's self is all important, because without it, one cannot be friends with anyone else in the world." ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
"The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated." ~ WIlliam James
"Don't forget to love yourself." ~ Soren Kierkegaard
"Love is an act of endless forgiveness, a tender look which becomes a habit. " ~ Peter Ustinov
"Eventually you will come to understand that love heals everything, and love is all there is." ~ Gary Zukav
"You're imperfect, and you're wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging." - Brené Brown
"The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely." ~ Carl G. Jung
"Our entire life ... consists ultimately in accepting ourselves as we are." ~ Jean Anouih
"Only by learning to live in harmony with your contradictions can you keep it all afloat." ~ Audre Lorde
"You cannot be lonely if you like the person you're alone with." ~ Wayne W. Dyer
"It is always our own self that we find at the end of the journey. The sooner we face that self, the better." ~ Ella Maillart
"Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final." ~ Rainer Maria Rilke
"You can never go home again, but the truth is you can never leave home, so it's all right." ~ Maya Angelou
"Sometimes you just got to give yourself what you wish someone else would give you." ~ Dr. Phil
"There are days I drop words of comfort on myself like falling leaves and remember that it is enough to be taken care of by myself." ~ Brian Andreas
"Self-care is never a selfish act—it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others." ~ Parker Palmer
"The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are." ~ Joseph Campbell
"You are unique, and if that is not fulfilled, then something has been lost." ~ Martha Graham
"The final mystery is oneself." ~ Oscar Wilde
What have you learned about being a good friend to yourself? Please share your wisdom in the comments below!