Updated: Dec 30, 2021
By Heather Halsey Dye
Just as a tree grows when we water it, people experience growth with continual nutrients like the tactics and tools you can learn from here. There are many nutrients that contribute to growth, and kindness is one of those nourishing elements. Self-compassion is a level of kindness and is linked to our success in discovering self-discipline's impact on our wellbeing.
Kindness is the quality or attribute of being friendly, generous, and considerate. When we choose to direct kindness inwardly, or be considerate towards ourselves, we are practicing a level of kindness called self-compassion. Dr. Kristin Neff, a psychologist and educator, conducted research to create a scale of measurement for self-compassion as a means to teach others about its powerful impact. Neff found that self-compassion allows people to acknowledge their imperfections while gently confronting the realities of their thoughts and actions. In addition, self-compassion helps us to move toward an emotional state of balance that supports regulating emotion. When we can acknowledge these truths, then we are given opportunity to cultivate willpower or self-discipline. As a Christian counselor I talk with clients on the benefits of growing in the areas of self-compassion as it allows us to apply the lens of God’s grace directly to ourselves.
As we forgive ourselves, give grace for our mistakes or harsh thoughts, and accept our perceived and known flaws, we are practicing self-compassion. Acting or becoming a person of kindness has also reportedly reduced individual tension by creating an experience of empathy.
Here are three messages you can remember as you begin to practice and apply self-compassion:
1. Limitations or “shortcomings” are a natural part of the human condition. People often strive to do better, be better, and achieve higher each day. Recognition of our shortcomings doesn’t impede our positive progress or these achievements but does allow for the realization that we can be both a flawed individual and an achiever. Self-compassion delivers an inward grace in the same way we would also give it to others (Matthew 6:12).
2. Hardships, difficulties, or roadblocks are a part of life that everyone goes through. Challenges can empower our growth when we adopt a mindset that embraces our obstacles. While it is true that no one wants to go through life encountering countless hurtles, we can decide; however, as we experience a hardship to consider what opportunity it has given for us to learn and grow.
3. Care for yourself in the way you’d care for others. If you’d share a fun emoji in a text or a warm thought to comfort a friend, remember to give yourself a similar boost of caring self-talk too. In this caring self-talk also take the time to pause, process, and regrow. Our moments of pause allow for the creation of both peace in the pause and new ideas for tackling similar circumstances.
When we delve further into the level of kindness we call self-compassion, we’ll discover how this seed of self-discipline lends to our overall successful growth in areas of grit, fortitude & tenacity.
Neff, K. (2013). Self-Compassion. Hodder & Stoughton.
Coach & Counselor, Heather Halsey Dye, seeks to lift others to their highest potential. Heather is certified as a Resiliency Coach (CReC) and received her Pastoral Counseling Certification (CPPC) from California Southern University. She obtained a Master of Science (MS) in Psychology with her Pastoral Counseling concentration at California Southern University. Heather continues to seek skills that enhance her abilities to guide others. This includes her current academic journey within Huntington University's Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program in Huntington, Indiana.