Potential barriers that might be hindering practice of self-compassion

Question 1: I understand the importance of self-compassion, but often struggle to embrace it. What are some potential barriers that might be hindering my practice of self-compassion?

Navigating the world of self-compassion is a journey that many of us embark on, full of unexpected twists and turns. Understanding the significance of self-compassion is one thing, but fully embracing it can sometimes feel like catching a fleeting butterfly. The journey to self-compassion can encounter unexpected obstacles. However, understanding the barriers can help us overcome and provide the strength to continue on this path with determination.

Inner Critic and Self-Judgment: The practice of self-compassion can be seriously hindered by the presence of an inner critic, which frequently appears as self-judgment and negative self-talk. It might be challenging to treat oneself with the same love and understanding that you would show to others when the critical voice criticises you for perceived mistakes or shortcomings.

Comparison and Perfectionism: Striving for perfection in an inflexible way and comparing oneself to others all the time can prevent one from practicing self-compassion. The impossible standards of perfectionism leave little room for self-acceptance and self-kindness.

Cultural and Family Influences:

Upbringing and cultural influences can impact your perception of self-compassion. For example, sometimes humility may be emphasized in such a way that being kind to oneself is considered self-centered. Recognizing these influences can help you challenge and reshape your perspective on self-compassion.

Feelings of Unworthiness:

It can be difficult to believe that you deserve compassion if you feel unworthy. You might think that showing oneself compassion is something you should save for other people. Making efforts to recognize our own inherent worth as human beings and not tying it to achievements is one of the steps in the cultivation of self-compassion. Of course, it does not mean that we do not work towards our achievement goals or feel good about achieving them!

Lack of Self-Awareness:

Sometimes, the barriers to self-compassion stem from a lack of awareness about your own needs and emotions. Being out of touch with your feelings can prevent you from recognizing when you need self-care and self-kindness.

Overidentifying with Thoughts and Emotions:

If you overly identify with negative thoughts and emotions, you may believe that these are totally accurate reflection of reality just because these are popping into your head and that they define who you are. This over-identification can create resistance to self-compassion, as you might feel unworthy of care due to these challenging experiences.

Practice and Patience:

Overcoming these barriers requires practice and patience. Start by acknowledging the obstacles that resonate with you the most. Then, gradually challenge these barriers by incorporating self-compassionate practices into your daily routine. Offer yourself the same understanding, kindness, and patience that you would offer a dear friend facing similar challenges.

  1. Question: Sometimes I catch myself comparing my achievements or appearance to others, which often leads to self-criticism rather than self-compassion? What can I do?

The classic comparison game – we all have played it at some point in our lives. It’s like looking at someone else’s dessert and suddenly your own slice of cake seems less exciting. Comparing achievements or appearance to others often turns into a self-criticism party, and let’s face it, that’s not the kind of party we want to attend.

Shift Focus: Instead of comparing achievements or appearance with others, shift the focus inward. Concentrate on your personal growth, your own progress, and individual strengths.

Mirror Magic: Next time you pass by a mirror, give yourself a nod. You are a work in progress, and efforts deserve applause.

Seek Support: Engage in conversations with friends, family, or professionals about the challenges of comparison. Sharing experiences can offer insights and strategies for overcoming this barrier.

Limit Triggers: Reduce exposure to triggers that initiate a dysfunctional comparison cycle. This might involve moderating social media consumption and if and when feasible distancing from stimuli that trigger highly unhealthy comparisons while seeking situations and opportunities and situations that motivate you and bring out your best.

Positive Playlist: Create a playlist of songs that uplift you. When dysfunctional tendency for comparison strikes, play your songs to shift perspective.

Acknowledging our efforts: Cultivate the habit of using an appreciative lens and a gentle encouraging style that takes in account the efforts that you are making. Focus on personal growth journey and your efforts

Acknowledging our Human-ness: Failing, falling, suffering, rising up , trying and learning to evolve are all part of human life and human experiences that we share with others around us. It may help to remind ourselves of this fact.