Read time: 5 minutes

Self-Compassion in Practice

Step 1. Begin by bringing to mind a current challenge you are facing. It could be a struggle with your child, a missed work deadline causing anxiety about your boss or colleagues’ reaction, or difficulty with late-night eating. Choose one specific struggle that you wish to work with.

Step 2. In a state of mindfulness, write down the situation as clearly and objectively as possible. As you describe it, notice how you feel. Be present with your emotions and any accompanying body sensations, such as tightness in your throat or fear in your chest. Also, observe any self-judgment that may arise. Write down anything you become aware of.

Step 3. Now, let kindness fill your heart as you offer yourself gentle and kind statements in the face of this situation:

“This is a painful experience, and I am here with you.”

“You are deeply concerned about your son’s well-being, and it’s natural to feel scared.”

“It’s okay to have moments of struggle and make mistakes. I am learning and growing through this process.”

“Pause for a moment, place your hand on your heart, and offer yourself the care and compassion you deserve.”

Step 4: Recognize the common humanity in your struggles. Reflect on the fact that difficult times arise for everyone, and it is normal to feel scared, frustrated, or sad. Consider all the other individuals in the world who may be going through a similar situation right now. Take a moment to write down your reflections:

“It is natural to feel sad and upset after having an argument with my partner. Many relationships face challenges and conflicts with their partner.”

“As I connect with others who are in similar situations, I understand that I am not alone. I extend compassion and kindness to myself and all those who are experiencing similar difficulties.”

Visualize sending compassion and kindness to yourself and all those who share your struggles. Imagine this loving energy enveloping you and others, nurturing and supporting each individual in their journey:

“I love my partner deeply and care about their safety. I understand that many partners share the same fears and concerns. I send compassion to myself and all partners who are facing similar worries.”

Remember that self-compassion is a practice that unfolds over time. Embrace this practice with patience and understanding, knowing that you have the capacity to offer yourself kindness and support in the midst of challenges. By cultivating self-compassion, you can navigate difficulties with greater resilience and tenderness.


Actionable Nudges


1. Start each day with a self-compassion affirmation: Repeat a positive affirmation such as “I am worthy of love and compassion” or “I embrace my imperfections with kindness” to set a compassionate tone for the day.

2. Practice mindful breathing: Take a few moments throughout the day to focus on your breath. Close your eyes, inhale deeply, and exhale slowly. Allow yourself to fully experience the present moment and bring awareness to your body and mind.

3. Engage in a self-care activity: Dedicate at least 15 minutes each day to engage in an activity that nourishes your well-being. It could be reading a book, taking a walk in nature, practicing yoga, or enjoying a soothing bath. Prioritize self-care as an essential part of your daily routine.

4. Notice self-judgment and replace it with self-compassion: Whenever you catch yourself engaging in self-critical thoughts, consciously choose to replace them with self-compassionate statements. Remind yourself that mistakes and challenges are part of being human, and offer yourself understanding and kindness instead.

5. Practice gratitude: Take a few minutes each day to reflect on three things you are grateful for. Write them down in a gratitude journal or simply mentally note them. Cultivating gratitude helps shift your focus to the positive aspects of your life and fosters a sense of contentment and appreciation.

6. Connect with others: Reach out to someone you care about and engage in meaningful conversation. It could be a phone call, a video chat, or even meeting up in person. Deepening connections with loved ones nourishes your relationships and provides a sense of support and belonging.

7. Set realistic goals: Identify one or two achievable goals for the day that align with your priorities. Break them down into smaller, manageable tasks and work on them with focus and intention. Celebrate your progress and acknowledge your efforts, regardless of the outcome.

8. Practice self-compassionate self-talk: Be mindful of your inner dialogue throughout the day. Whenever you notice self-critical or negative thoughts, consciously reframe them with kind and encouraging words. Treat yourself as you would a dear friend, offering support, encouragement, and understanding.

9. Engage in acts of kindness: Look for opportunities to extend kindness to others. It could be a small gesture like holding the door for someone, offering a genuine compliment, or volunteering your time to a cause you care about. Acts of kindness not only benefit others but also cultivate a sense of fulfillment and connection within yourself.

10. Reflect on self-compassion before bed: Take a few moments before going to sleep to reflect on your day through a lens of self-compassion. Acknowledge moments where you treated yourself with kindness, and areas where you could have shown more compassion. Set an intention to continue practicing self-compassion tomorrow.