With Individual Counseling, Self-Compassion is Important
When taking on individual counseling, it’s important to have self-compassion during your healing process. Self-compassion involves acting the same way toward yourself when you are having a difficult time, failing, or noticing something you don’t like about yourself. Terri can help you through your tough times with the help of individual counseling.
Having compassion for yourself is no different than having compassion for others when it comes down to it. What does compassion feel like? First, you must notice that they are suffering to have compassion for others. Second, compassion involves feeling moved by others’ suffering so your heart responds to their pain. Hence the word compassion means “suffer with.” Compassion also means that you offer understanding and kindness to others when they fail or make mistakes rather than judge them harshly. Finally, when you feel compassion for another, you realize that suffering, failure, and imperfection are part of the shared human experience. Self-compassion can decrease depression, increase happiness and life satisfaction, and improve physical health. You may try to change in ways that allow you to be healthier and happier, but this is done because you care about yourself, not because you are worthless or unacceptable as you are. But most importantly, having compassion for yourself means accepting your humanness.
The three elements that define self-compassion include:
- Self-kindness vs. Self-judgment – Self-compassion entails being warm and understanding toward ourselves when we suffer, fail, or feel inadequate, rather than ignoring our pain or beating ourselves with self-criticism. Self-compassionate people recognize that being imperfect, failing, and experiencing life difficulties are inevitable, so they tend to be gentle with themselves when confronted with painful experiences rather than getting angry when life falls short of set ideals.
- Common humanity vs. Isolation – Frustration at not having things exactly as we want is often accompanied by an irrational but pervasive sense of isolation – as if “I” were the only person suffering or making mistakes. The very definition of being “human” means that one is mortal, vulnerable, and imperfect. Therefore, self-compassion involves recognizing that suffering and personal inadequacy are part of the shared human experience – something we all go through rather than something that happens to “me” alone.
- Mindfulness vs. Over-identification – Self-compassion also requires taking a balanced approach to our negative emotions so that feelings are neither suppressed nor exaggerated. Mindfulness is a non-judgmental, receptive mind state in which one observes thoughts and feelings as they are without trying to suppress or deny them. We cannot ignore our pain and feel compassion for it simultaneously.
The long-term effects of self-compassion on daily life include decreased depression, increased happiness, increased life satisfaction, and better physical health. Self-compassion also allows you to be kind and understanding toward yourself, even when you may be facing difficult emotions or challenging situations. Instead of self-criticism or judgment, you approach yourself with empathy and patience, which creates a safe and supportive space for personal growth. Individual counseling often involves exploring personal struggles, past traumas, and areas where you want to change. Self-compassion helps you accept that imperfections and mistakes are a natural part of being human. It allows you to treat yourself with the same understanding and forgiveness you might offer a friend rather than being overly self-critical. Compassion toward oneself fosters self-awareness, so when you practice self-compassion, you become more in tune with your emotions, thoughts, and needs. This awareness can aid the counseling process, providing valuable insights into patterns and triggers that may need exploration. Overall, self-compassion is a powerful tool that empowers you to be more resilient, understanding, and open to growth during the individual counseling process.
Some things you can do to help grow your self-compassion; talk to yourself as you would a close friend. It’s about using the skill we’ve developed and honed well for others and turning it inward. Practicing mindful meditation is another way to help, as mindfulness is the first step in self-compassion. And finally, writing yourself a loving letter and giving yourself advice is powerful. Most importantly – reaching out for help with individual counseling when needed will assist in more ways than you can imagine.
Take Charge Inc. offers individual counseling to those located in Overland Park and Johnson County. For more information about individual counseling, contact Terri today at (913) 239-8255 for more information about individual counseling.
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