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How to practice self-compassion

Updated: Nov 16, 2022

Do you tend to be hard on yourself when something doesn’t go to plan?

If you do, you could be placing unnecessary pressure on yourself.

When we’ve failed at something or didn’t get it quite perfect enough, it can be easy to fall into a spiral of self-deprecating negativity.

Still, during these moments, we need to remember to exercise self-compassion.

Expert on self-compassion, Dr. Kristin Neff, noted that “Instead of mercilessly judging and criticizing yourself for various inadequacies or shortcomings, self-compassion means you are kind and understanding when confronted with personal failings.”

Self-compassion has been linked to several benefits, including:

  • Reduced risk of depression and anxiety

  • Increased empathy, altruism and forgiveness

  • Increased job satisfaction

  • Building awareness around one’s limits and knowing when it’s time to seek support

  • Increased likelihood of choosing positive coping strategies

  • Higher levels of emotional intelligence

  • Building resilience to stress

So how can you practice more self-compassion?

Be kind to yourself.

Practice reframing your mindset whenever your inner critic chimes in with something negative.

For example, stop saying things like “I suck” or “I’m such a failure” and instead reframe it to something like “I tried my best, and I learned a couple of things for next time.”

Talk to yourself as you would to a dear friend.

Practice mindfulness.

When you notice uncomfortable emotions bubbling up, take a moment to breathe and experience them without attaching words or labels to the feeling.

It’s especially important to do this when you begin to experience that negative self-talk.

Work on accepting your imperfections and shortcomings.

The truth is that not everything we do will be perfect and we shouldn’t be striving for perfection anyway.

The key is to do your best and accept whatever the results are.

Remember to give yourself grace if it doesn’t always turn out as you hoped.

Learn more about how to promote self compassion in your workplace in this week's Wellness At Work Newsletter.


VitaliTeam Workplace Wellness provides solutions at the intersection of organizational health and individual wellbeing.

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