Have a goal for the new year? Start with Self-Compassion.

Image: GROVE PASHLEY Getty Images

Image: GROVE PASHLEY Getty Images

As we begin a new year, we think about resolutions, goals, and hopes. Maybe you want to relate better with your partner, have more patience with your children, lose 10 pounds, or feel more connected to the dear ones in your life. Let me suggest something that’s simple, powerful and will change your life: have compassion for yourself. Whether you want 2014 to be the year you had more patience, loved without holding back, got adventurous, or focused on what matters most, it all starts with learning to cultivate self-compassion.

Dr. Kristin Neff, one of the country’s leading researchers on self-compassion at the University of Texas at Austin, defines self-compassion as “bearing witness to one’s own pain and responding with kindness and understanding.” Instead of trying to motivate yourself with harsh self-talk, judging yourself harshly, and getting tossed around in the waves of your thoughts and emotions, self-compassion is about easing up on yourself, accepting your humanness, and giving yourself a dose of gentleness and kindness.

Why Self-compassion?

~ Self-compassion is the basis for having compassion for others. The extent to which we demonstrate love to ourselves is the extent to which we are able to extend love to others.

~ Having compassion for ourselves motivates us to take wise action. Ever tried motivating yourself with harsh talk, lots of “shoulds,” and laying on the judgment?! When we compassionately tend to our pain, we make decisions that nourish and support our well-being.

~ Want to end the strife with your body, relationships, and world? Gandhi famously said, “Peace begins with you.” Self-compassion promotes peace. Peace in our thoughts, emotions, actions, hearts and relationships. If you want peace around you, cultivate kindness within you.

Want to learn ways to cultivate self-compassion in your everyday life?
Come to the first Mind-Body Connections workshop of 2014  Wednesday, January 8, at 1 p.m., as we begin the new year with, “Cultivating Self-Compassion.” Together, let’s start with self-compassion. Click HERE to register.

Maybe 2014 is the year you decide that loving yourself matters more than striving for perfection. Maybe this is the year you experience how caring for yourself enables you to love without holding back and nourish the people in your life.

This post was written by Lisa A. McCrohan, MA, LICSW, RYT, Wellness Workshop Facilitator and owner of the Barefoot Barn. Cover image via flickr user Wonderlane

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