05 Jan How mindfulness helps in developing self-compassion
It’s hard to be compassionate towards ourselves. It is quite a contrast to the relative ease with which we can be compassionate to others. We find it easy to extend compassion outwards, but not inwards.
The absence of self-compassion often stems from deep-seated and unconscious behavioural patterns shaped by early developmental experiences, moulding core beliefs that influence individuals’ perceptions of themselves, others, and the world. Examples include beliefs such as “I need to take care of everyone” or “Everyone leaves me,” residing in the unconscious and escaping immediate awareness. The danger lies in the difficulty of extending compassion inward when these patterns remain unrecognized.
Increasing awareness of unconscious patterning involves a gradual mindfulness of daily thoughts and feelings, leading to the discovery of underlying beliefs operating beneath conscious awareness. While this heightened self-awareness fosters a deeper understanding of oneself and life events, it doesn’t inherently result in a more compassionate self-relationship, as the process can be uncomfortable.
However, the discomfort accompanying self-awareness offers an opportunity for growth. It can be beneficial to engage in self-compassion practices (see Rachael Beckley’s blog on this website), and to acknowledge one’s self-critical tendencies (see blog on the inner critic by Pek Lee). Seeking guidance from a therapist further facilitates a secure space for individuals to navigate the challenges of growing self-awareness through mindfulness, enabling a more profound exploration of the self than one might achieve independently.
If you would like to have a conversation further on how to navigate this and would like to engage with one of our clinicians to support your journey, please contact us at Prosper Health Collective for further information on 6381 0071.