After the challenges of living through 2020, many people have taken stock of their priorities. Small things that once seemed trivial now have a new significance. Important relationships, time spent with loved ones and gratitude for small blessings took on a new meaning.
As 2021 unfolds and life begins to look a little more normal, you can still hold on to the values you realized in 2020. One way to keep first things first is to practice compassion. Being a compassionate person means you extend this trait to yourself as much as others.
What Is Compassion?
Simply put, compassion is facing difficult circumstances in a kind and loving manner. It involves empathy, which is the ability to relate to others without harsh judgment. It allows you to connect to people instead of turning away with indifference.
How Can I Practice Self-Compassion?
Here's an example of practicing self-compassion. Suppose you feel unhappy because you've been neglecting your health. Your schedule seems to be filled with other commitments that leave no time for self-care. Instead of beating yourself up for disregarding yet another important task, you can turn around your thought process. Acknowledge your negative feelings, and remind yourself that it's normal to feel overwhelmed when there's a lot to do. Remember that it's natural to feel overwhelmed, guilty, anxious or frustrated in your situation.
Once you've accepted your emotions, it becomes easier to move forward. Perhaps you can make it a priority to get eight hours of sleep or allow yourself some time to research Le-Vel Thrive reviews, go for a walk or take a long bath.
Essentially, self-compassion is this: when you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation, recognize what is happening. Look objectively at your emotions and behaviors while acknowledging that they are difficult or painful.
Allow the situation just to be what it is. Push the pause button on any resistance you're feeling and let yourself experience the emotions. Try not to judge yourself. Instead, kindly ask yourself what you are feeling and why. Once you understand where your emotions are coming from, it becomes easier to accept them and let them run the course.
Practicing self-compassion is just as important as extending it to others. When you make a mistake or find yourself in a tough situation, you may tend to be harder on yourself than you would be on loved ones. Learning to extend to yourself the same grace you do to those around you is an important lesson.
How Can I Extend Compassion to Others?
When you ask how a friend, co-worker or family member is doing, really listen to the answer. Turn your whole body to face them, not just your head. Put away any distractions, such as your cell phone. Choose a position of open body language, with arms and legs uncrossed, and lean toward the speaker. Make eye contact, but in a comfortable manner than doesn't involve staring intently. It's best to look at the speaker's face to take in all expressions. Gestures such as nodding and smiling make the speaker feel connected and supported.
Listen with patience if the speaker needs time to find the right words. Remind yourself not to get defensive or take things personally if the conversation involves you; the speaker is simply expressing individual feelings. You can share your opinions at another time. Listen reflectively and reiterate what you hear the speaker saying. You don't have to offer advice unless you are asked. Sometimes the speaker just needs someone to listen. It can be quite tempting to offer a solution to the problem, but that might not be what is needed now. Keep in mind a solution that sounds great to you won't always work for another person. A compassionate listener recognizes that everyone's needs are different.
Practicing compassion is a meaningful way to build and maintain strong relationships. You can extend compassion to anyone — from the person in front of you at the grocery store to your spouse and children. A little compassion goes a long way toward maintaining priorities in 2021.