Counsellor Sarah Barr shares three exercises to practice self-compassion.

“You will never speak to anyone more than you speak to yourself in your head, be kind to yourself”

When we are living with low self-esteem, it can be very isolating, leading to low moods. We then have a tendency to self-criticize and over-analyze what we say and do. Further pushing down our confidence and self-worth.

How to overcome self-criticism

The first step to overcoming self-criticism is showing kindness to yourself.

When we talk negatively to ourselves we are damaging our confidence, self-esteem and self-worth. Sometimes the words we say to ourselves, we would never dream of saying to anyone else.

Being kind to yourself in everyday life is one of the best things you can do for yourself.

You will feel happier overall.

Sometimes we can feel guilty if we take time out for ourselves but it is important to remember that you deserve to take time out and to be kind to yourself.

“Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.”
Henry James.

Below are three exercises that can evoke your compassionate self.

Exercise one: How would you treat a friend?

1. Think of a time when a friend is going through a hard time and feeling negative about themselves. What would you say to them? Write down your answers.
2. Now think about times when you are struggling, how do you talk to yourself? Write down what you would say to yourself.
3. Is there a difference in what you say to yourself and to your friend?
4. If there is a difference, write down how you think things might change if you responded to yourself in the same way you would to a friend when they are down.

Exercise two: Invest in yourself.

Take 10-20 minutes each morning or evening and reflect on what you are thankful or grateful for.

By changing your focus to the positives in your life will help to create a new thinking habit and positively impact on how you see yourself.


Exercise three: De-stress

Take a long bath, add a couple of drops of lavender oil and read something to escape or listen to relaxing music.

By setting aside 20-30 minutes in the evening will allow you to be kind to your body and mind.

If you’re struggling and find it difficult to show kindness to yourself there is help and support available.

It is possible to learn new thinking habits and to change your outlook on the world.

If you would like to find out more, I offer free consultations in Letterkenny and Moville.

Take Care, Sarah.