Giving Yourself the Gift of Self-Compassion

a woman makes a heart with her hands to represent self compassion


With Valentine’s Day a few short days away, it got us thinking about how loving yourself can help give you the courage and strength to recover from a substance use disorder. And a big part of loving yourself is having self-compassion.

What’s self-compassion? An expert from Psychology Today (PT) defined it as “a balance between self-acceptance and self-improvement.” In other words, making an effort to treat yourself with kindness (stop the name-calling) and to be realistic (yet not judgmental) about your past experiences (no more shame or blame). Kristin Neff, PhD, a pioneer in self-compassion research, told PT that self-compassion has three main components:

  1. Self-kindness: replacing harsh self-criticism with kinder, gentler words.
  2. Common humanity: acknowledging that suffering and personal failure is a universal experience.
  3.  Mindfulness: observing your negative emotions without focusing on them or suppressing them.

Study after study shows the benefits of self-compassion, including the following that happen to work double-duty for your recovery:

  • You’ll be more motivated. One study conducted by the University of California showed that self-compassion helps to increase motivation so you can better recover from failure and work on changing any weaknesses.
  • You’ll be more resilient. A little kindness toward you is often key to overcoming adversity and it can also help improve emotional recovery, according to a study in Psychological Science.
  • You’ll boost your mood. Researchers have found a link between self-compassion and happiness and optimism. What’s more, having compassion for yourself can help you better fend off stress and decrease levels of anxiety and depression.

What are you waiting for? Give yourself the gift of self-compassion this Valentine’s Day – and every day!

Living Sober, Living Healthy
Our Philadelphia sober living residence encourages and incorporates activities and attainable daily goals that reflect a strategy toward sustainable recovery and personal wellness. To learn more, call (866) 247-3307.


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