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Lower Levels of Anxiety & Depression by Practicing Self-Compassion

Updated: Sep 29, 2022

“If your compassion doesn’t include yourself, it’s incomplete.” Jack Kornfield

Compassion is defined as, “sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others” (Miriam Webster).

I often hear people talk about their compassion as a duty. They feel obliged to suffer with another person.

One problem with this definition of compassion is that it naturally creates fatigue for the one carrying another person’s load. It’s much different to feel like you are suffering than feeling like you get to participate from a place of concern in another person’s difficulty in life.

This type of compassion (pity) can create complications since joining with another person often includes feeling the other person’s feelings. This often leads to walking in the same path but does not necessarily lead to any successful traction towards a whole or better life for either party.

My response as a life coach is to encourage the practice of cultivating self-compassion so that those who partner with us out of compassion arrive at a better place long-term instead of just walking in the muck together.

It is possible to partner with another person out of compassion but with kindness towards ourselves. To do so we must:

  • see compassion as the gift of being able to empathize with the other person, without being caught in that person’s misfortunes.

  • reframe compassion in a positive manner.

  • look at every person’s problem as a possible gift to us and them. A gift where we can share kindness for ourselves and others – showering lots of forgiveness on the journey.

  • practice mindfulness without wallowing in another person’s problems, and

  • see ourselves as a part of the community of humanity.

My question for the week is: If we could change our perspective on practicing compassion towards ourselves and others could we become more compassionate people?

And if we became more compassionate towards others how might our world be positively affected?

Write a comment and let me know what you think!

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