**Excerpted from “Thriving as an Empath: 365 Days of Self-Care for Sensitive People” (Sounds True, Oct. 22, 2019)
Self-compassion means directing loving-kindness inwardly. Instead of beating yourself up, give yourself a break and acknowledge that you did your best in any circumstance. When you become your own champion, you will feel more protected in the world.
Research shows that people who are compassionate toward their own shortcomings experience greater well-being than those who harshly judge themselves. We all make mistakes, but the larger lesson of love is how we treat ourselves at those times.
Still, it’s often easier to have compassion for others than oneself. Over the years, many psychotherapist friends have lamented to me about this issue. Don’t worry. This is an area of growth that loving people must address so they can be more compassionate with their own struggles.
Compassion can be learned. Start by planning at least one act of kindness toward yourself daily. For example, turn off your computer and enjoy a walk or tell yourself, “Good job,” or “I’m happy that I didn’t react nastily to a controlling friend.” My Taoist teacher says, “Beating yourself up a little bit less each day is spiritual progress.”
SET YOUR INTENTION
I will be my own best friend. I am not perfect, nor are any of us. I will not beat myself up. I will treat myself with kindness.
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Judith Orloff, M.D., is a New York Times bestselling author, a member of the UCLA Psychiatric Clinical Faculty, and has a Facebook Empath Support Community with more than 6,000 members. She has been featured on The Today Show, CNN, and in Oprah Magazine, the New York Times and more. Her new book, Thriving as an Empath: 365 Days of Self-Care for Sensitive People (Sounds True, Oct. 22, 2019), draws from her own experiences as an empath to share the secret to well-being. Learn more at drjudithorloff.com.