Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
What is compassion?
Compassion is simply an emotion that causes you to feel what someone else feels and it inspires you to want to relieve their pain, fear or anxiety.
” Among emotion researchers, it is defined as the feeling that arises when you are confronted with another’s suffering and feel motivated to relieve that suffering.” Compassion is not the same as empathy or altruism, though the concepts are related. It literally means “to suffer together
Compassion is reported to improve health and wellness because of its ability to drive meaningful interactions. It pushes you to address inequality, cruelty, discriminations and the struggles of injustices to others. It encourages you to be kind and humane. It also allows you to see others for who they are and how you can help them or make room for them.
Self-compassion entails treating yourself with the same kindness and understanding that you would your closest friends and love ones. It means accepting that, you are a human rather than a robot, therefore, it is unreasonable to expect constant perfection.
The value of compassion enables you to understand yourself and others better. Psychologists now know that cultivating an attitude of self-compassion may ultimately be very beneficial.
Researchers found that people who demonstrate high levels of self-compassion tend to experience less anxiety and depression. Furthermore, self-compassion is linked to higher performance in the workplace, academic and even sport.
Related: You Should Appraise Your Leadership Skills!!
Many professionals, including a surprising number of high achievers, judge and punish themselves intensely for what they perceive as their failures. They may beat themselves up when things go wrong, or get rejected. Also, when they feel that they said or did the wrong thing in front of colleagues or clients.
High levels of self-criticism are associated with anxiety and depression. In addition, being more self-critical may lead to poorer performance. People who chastise themselves inadvertently waste time and mental energy thinking about their perceived failings rather than getting on with actions that would improve their wellbeing and performance.
While people may believe that self-criticism helps them to excel, the science suggests that the opposite is more likely to be true. Unsurprisingly, studies have found that procrastination is more common among the self-critical, where doing nothing can perversely seem more appealing than doing something imperfectly.
Mounting evidence suggests that self-motivation rather than self-criticism is associated with benefits in terms of both psychological wellbeing and enhanced performance. Thankfully, studies have also found that it is possible to develop a self-compassionate stance.
However, psychological scientists Juliana Breines and Serena Chen of the University of California, Berkeley found that people who were more self-compassionate and self-accepting after a failure were more motivated to improve themselves than those who were more self-critical.
If you are compassionate to others it does not provide a conclusive and accurate evidence of how you view yourself. In other words, just because you may be caring towards others is no guarantee that you naturally do the same for yourself.
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A Balanced Approach
Researchers led by Duke University’s Mark Leary found they were able to induce greater self-compassion among people through a writing exercise with three steps. When you have experienced what you perceive to be a failure, boost your self-compassion and self-motivation by working through the following steps:
- Spend a few minutes listing ways in which other people also experience similar difficulties. Consider that you are not unique – that others experience failure, rejection and disappointments.
- To de-personalize the situation, describe your feelings and what you perceive to be the facts in an objective fashion. Doing so may help you to see events from a more objective and therefore less self-critical perspective.
- Finally, write a paragraph expressing understanding, kindness and concern for yourself as if you were writing a letter to someone else going through a similar situation.
The notion of self-compassion can feel self-indulgent or ineffectual to some people. But trust the psychological science telling you that nurturing self-compassion in the face of adversity definitely has genuine benefits.
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