SELF COMPASSION TO FEEL BETTER WHEN THINGS GO WRONG
We all have been in a situation where we have messed up things, particularly when we work as a group and other’s have to pay the price for our deeds. This feeling is terrible and feels so freaking bad. For instance, when we are placed on a group, and we make a abysmal mistake as a consequence of which others’ are forced to do double amount of work, it feels so sheepish.
But, there’s a way to deal with it. In recent research, published in Social Psychology by James Wirth at Ohio State University and his colleagues, validates that an attribute which can reduce those terrible negative feelings, called “self-compassion”.
Components of self-compassion
Self-compassion involves being solicitous and considerate towards own self. This mainly constitutes three major components which are self-kindness, mindfulness and common humanity. The self-kindness involves being kind to you. Mindfulness involves keeping the emotions balanced; knowing that it’s okay to feel things but equilibrium must be maintained. Common humanity means that we all belong to a single community; here it involves the recognition that everyone experiences challenges.
The researchers conducted a series of experiment online, each with nearly 160-300 participants, to see if self compassion can also protect people from the negative feelings that occur when they perform poorly which disappoints their team members.
The first experiment involved participants to imagine playing a trivia game as a part of a team. Some of them imagined that their performance was as good as their team members whilst others imagined that their performance was poor, which reduced the team’s number of correct answers.
In the experiment number 2, participants were involved in an actual team task in which they saw three words and had to find the worth word which linked them together. Some participants were told that their performance were as good as their other team members, which were actually computer agents, while others were told that they performed worse and as a result, the team did not get many questions correct and as a penalty they have to answer more penalty questions.
In both the cases, when people performed in reality or as well as in imagination, they experienced a high level of negative emotions, suffered from low self esteem and felt more ostracised.
However, the self compassion reduced these negative end results; participants who had more self compassion did not experience high levels of negative emotions in comparison to the ones with lower self-compassion.
How to develop self compassion?
There is no universal rule to develop self-compassion. It varies from person to person. But some general things that you can try are:
- Eating healthy. Comforting your body must be your utmost priority and eating healthy food not only improves your physical health but mental health as well.
- Write a diary. Keeping a journal allows you to self-reflect and it relieves stress. Journaling also, boosts your memory and inspires your creativity.
- Encouraging thyself. Never doubt who you are, always try to think that you are the best version of yourself, you acquire power and skills that nobody acquires.
- Accept yourself. Don’t seek validation from others be who you are. In the words of Coco Chanel, “beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself”.
- Practice mindfulness. Meditation is the best way to practice it. Meditation makes us aware of our thoughts and our feelings. We shall try to take out some time to feel our surroundings. It also helps with the anxiety issues.
As the researchers themselves note some of the limitations, like the experiment was done online and there was no personal contact. Nevertheless, it’s encouraging that most of the study’s main findings reproduced across all of the individual experiments.
Children at the young age must be encouraged to feel compassionate about them, because their age is fragile and their mind can be molded. But it’s never too late; one must be kind to their own selves first. Self compassion possesses some benefits like lower levels of anxiety and depression.
At the end, if some people feel tough to manage to cope up when they feel crushed, practising self-compassion might help them to feel better in difficult and in situations where you feel burdened. You don’t have to be hard on yourself. Self-love, kindness and mindfulness needs to be practiced to be self-compassionate.
Be kind to yourself first.