“I am such a loser! I can’t get a single thing done!” These are words that can follow an incident where a person may screw up. It’s an emotionally painful process.
But why don’t people treat themselves the same way they treat their friends when they are feeling down? How are they any different than the people they care about? As students, we take multiple classes and are involved in different organizations — some even have full time jobs. We put on so many different hats that we are all drained and exhausted at the end of the day.
The social expectations posed on students make it even worse. During their years of college, students are expected to maintain a high GPA, work on personal skills and gain experiences that make an impressive resume. That way future graduates can land their “dream job.” In the process, students may lose track of their own emotional and spiritual well-being.
So, how is it possible to recover from mishaps and become resilient at times when things don’t go as we had expected? Self-compassion.
According to UT-Austin psychology professor Kristin Neff, self-compassion is being fair to yourself even when you are feeling low and insecure.
How can you cultivate self-compassion? One of the many ways is by practicing self-compassion break. This might sound like something that involves commitment of a significant amount of time (which is exactly what we don’t have). Fortunately, however, only 10 to 15 minutes is needed to practice.
Neff teaches that self-compassion can be practiced by treating ourselves as our best friend. She recommends for participants to close their eyes and get in touch with the situation that is going on.
Think about what happened and what might happen and bring it to the mind’s eye. Then use your own words to acknowledge suffering in the moment. “This is really hard right now. I’m going through a lot.”
Next, remind yourself that all people suffer, and it comes in different shapes and forms. Find language that speaks to yourself, such as “It’s very normal to feel this way. Many people are going through this situation.”
Then, express kindness to yourself by putting your hand or hands over your heart or any part of your body. Talk to yourself by using comforting phrases such as “May I be kind to myself.”
Assert these words as you would with a friend who might be going through similar situations by saying “I’m here for you. I care about you. It’ll be okay.” Finally, end the practice and allow your body to take in the affirmation.
Taking 15 minutes out of your day may be what you need to accept the love we all deserve.