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How do you practice self-love and compassion?


I don't mean like do you get yourself a cup of tea when you're feeling down, or go out and do retail therapy to cheer yourself up.

I mean how do you sit with yourself on your own and work with yourself to start trying to develop self-love and compassion?

I think I'm at the stage where I'm willing to explore this but I don't how to... is it something I repeat to myself every day? Do I keep the abuse out of it, do I try to tell myself it wasn't my fault? (I don't want to kick-start any of the parts which historically have pushed back on that as they've been quiet for a while). Or do I focus on the here and now and what I like about myself.?

i just don't really get how to practice it. What works for any of you?
Thank you for starting this thread. Been screaming this at myself lately and it’s not working. I don’t think. I need to just sit still and be present with myself. Feeling like I’m flying away and sinking at the same time. I need the self compassion. Rule number one. I think I’m starting to understand why they say not to be angry so much. It’s catching up to me and then turned inwards. I can’t focus but I do need this so thanks @beaneeboo. Looking forward to reading about the stuff:

Here’s what I think it means or what I’m supposed to do:
Drink water
Walk outside
Reach out, call a friend (this one kind of dwindled for me, I let it get away from me and feeling a bit panicky.)
Rocking back and forth maybe
Crying sometimes maybe but I don’t like crying because it means I’m losing myself or something.
Maybe letting yourself collapse because people say rest and stuff.

Maybe talking to the AI.

And facing the anger probably. I think I let the anger build up too much. Dang it.
1. Compassion means something has to be going wrong to be compassionate about… so that’s the obvious place to start. Something has gone wrong or gone badly! Now what do you do?

- How do you treat yourself when you f*ck up?
- What do you think and feel about yourself when you’re totally in the wrong, made a mistake, did something stupid, hurt someone, etc.?
- How fast do you recover / learn from / roll with things going badly (including things that are totally your fault, partially your fault, no one’s fault, partially someone else’s fault, totally someone else’s fault)?
- Is the way that you treat/think/feel about yourself when something’s gone wrong, or gone badly, the same way you would treat someone else?
- Is the way you treat/think/feel something that builds you up, or tears you down? Something that builds others up, or tears them down? <<< Are any/all of these commensurate, or any/all of these overblown?

2. Love is a complicated thing, and different for all of us, so breaking down what it means to YOU when you love someone? Is going to look different than when I love someone. But no matter what? It gives us a whoooooooole lot to work with & work on!!!

For example?

- There are veeeeeeery few people that I can both love AND NOT respect. Which means that if I’m going to love me’self? I’d better be able to respect myself. What does THAT look like? Here’s part of it (both the post and quote within the post) here . <<< So that gives me about 40 more things both bring into my life AND to break down, all “just” to give me about 10% of what would make me respect myself, which is maybe 1/7th of what’s involved in loving myself. >>> IE SMALL BUT CRUCIAL PIECES, that add up to make a bigger whole. Or wholes, I suppose, since there are dozens of small things that add up to respect, and respect is just one of many pieces that add up to love.

- I can love people, without actually liking them, very easily. In an ideal world? I will both love AND like someone. As well as a whole lot of other “ideal but not necessary” items.

- Shazaam / Extra = the unique &/or rare things that make a person themselves. The things we laugh/cry about at funerals, that make our eyes sparkle, or the room light up when they walk into it, or quicken the pulse, or are why we call THEM first when ABC happens, are they person we relax into when XYZ happens, etc.,

Crucial Pieces
  • A (EX = Respect? Then add about 40 more bullets for each of the components for respect, and each of them have a short list of bullets, and each of them, until it’s all broken down into the small pieces that make up Respect, which is one of the core pieces that makes up Love.)
  • B ditto this crucial piece necessary for me to love someone
  • C ditto this crucial piece necessary for me to love someone
  • D ditto this crucial piece necessary for me to love someone
Ideal Pieces
  • A
  • B
  • C
  • D
Shazaam / Extra
  • A
  • B
  • C
  • D
I try to remove opinions and judgment from the equation when discussing my experiences, writing about them, or thinking about them. At first there was a time where I'd be like, "yeah I was a piece of shit/a monster/etc," but now I work to eliminate subjective analysis from the equation and only focus on what actually happened. I did X, someone else did Y, the circumstances were Z.
Wowsers! Amazing replies so far!

I used to have a really tough time with the concept of self compassion. My self loathing was epic. Couldn’t cope with the thought of having to spend the rest of my life in my own company.

It’s still a work in progress! But, made a lot of headway.

For me, self compassion is one of the many things that I understand better if I think of it as someone else, looking in. What would a really compassionate friend do? If I need more distance than that, what do I do to be compassionate towards people who are close to me?

Honestly? I never make people a cup of tea. So, it wouldn’t be genuine. And for a long time, I hated my body, so long soapy baths weren’t particularly kind either!!

Things that it does include:

Forgiving myself when I’m a defective human - I get cranky and dysfunctional at times, but mostly I’m okay, so I don’t sweat the bad moments. Being okay with my imperfections is tough, but they make me who I am, and are very often my strengths playing out in the wrong situation.

Looking after myself, especially physically. Making sure my body and brain get what they need to give me their best work.

Going looking for opportunities to just be kind. To make myself laugh for no particular reason. Enjoy something for no particular reason. Show up for myself, and make time for myself…for no particular reason. They’re all things I do for my closest friends - so I try and do them for me too.

When I’m distressed, provide comfort. In the form that will be most genuine to me (and sometimes, that’s the opposite of a bubbly bath).

I started on self compassion the same way that I approach most seemingly-impossible goals: behave in spite of how I feel. I started being kind to myself long before I believed that was appropriate, or necessary, or valuable. The belief I deserve it is coming, slowly, as my brain adjusts to this ‘new normal’ where I treat myself kindly, like a friend that I want to look after. Create laughter and awe when times are good, and provide comfort and healing when times are tough.
I particularly like what Sideways had to say. It sounds like right where I am. I recently read Kristen Neff’s and colleagues book and did the workbook as well and it really answers a lot of those questions. Very well. The hard part is making the transition. The change from self loathing to self love is not easy and won’t happen overnight but I’ve made progress. And I keep working at it. But I have to keep working to realize those results. Paul defines love as patience, kindness, forgiveness, tolerance, and a lot more and I treat myself with those things just like I would anyone else. And I’ve come to believe that improving my relationship with myself is directly connected to how I treat others. Kinda like the instructions on a flight to put my oxygen mask on first. So I would say avail yourself of some directions and I recommend Neff’s material on this subject.
May you feel safe
May you be peaceful
May you be healthy
May you have a life of ease
I try to personify the source of my pain, the litany of hateful BS that just inundates my mind, all directed at me, just tearing me down… I try to separate it by assigning it a “source” or body or whatever that is separate from me.

Then I play a numbers game.

For every shitty thought I have, I let that happen and then I craft a new thought that opposes it. If I look at myself in the mirror and just think, “die, I hate you” I stay there, and then I’ll employ the new thought, “live beautifully, I love you” and I pick 3 on 1, 4 or 5 or 6 on 1… so for eve try one negative intrusive thought I apply the new thought until it feels like I’ve balanced and then tipped the scale as far as what I’ve created and consumed, thought-wise, about myself. And I can feel it. That sense of that negative and positive energy being more balanced, then the positive ought weighing the negative. I’m afraid it’s never been one for one. I usually have to work at it. Doing this faithfully definitely made a difference for me though. Like I said, I play a numbers game. I have to keep my numbers up to win, so to speak.

It’s endlessly corny and I know it but it changed the way my mind works and has improved my ability to control my inner critic or negative self talk and all of that.

And kind of personifying all of that as well has made it easier to sort of dismiss those thoughts as some poor stiff just doing his job at the hate factory, and sometimes I’m like, “no thanks have a nice day” and other times I’m like “f*ck thee off” lol.
recently as part of an exercise I made a list of things that make me happy. Some are easy, some are hard, some are distant, some are right here and easily brought about.

I will share my most recently checked boxes:

finishing a project, at work or at home, the feeling of finishing and savoring the moment while I put away the tools and get ready to enjoy the fruits of the labor
acquiring a desired item, and getting it for the least amount of money, sweat, barter, whatever. Hunter gatherer satiated.
accomplishing a task that has eluded me, through perseverance or just dumb luck or a eureka moment doesn't matter. I wanted to, I couldn't, I can now.

I built an amplifier for my guitars, it is a copy of an early 1950's amp that would cost me up to 10's of thousands of dollars but the manufacturer has started making replacement parts available for restorers and I got enough of those parts together to restore one from thin air.
I bought a used guitar with a top quality build except for the electronics. Made in USA means US wood assembly and electronics assembled in the US but modern ones use internal parts from all over the globe so I have stripped them all out and am in the process of reassembling it using US made parts, made to the standard of the 1950's guitars that are also incredibly expensive but, using the right parts, duplicateable.
I look forward to being better able to create some of the tones that have eluded me forever, recreating the early days of amplified music as best as I can. I have been hearing those tones and styles my whole life and hearing them come out of a speaker at the end of an electronics circuit I recreated, well, that will be a HUGE checkmark for my list.

Self care, distraction, hunter gatherer satiation, creativity sparked, pride of ownership, lots and lots of happy boxes checked. Circling the drain of disappointment? Maybe. Vulnerability box also checked, Brenee Brown would be pleased.
Think it varies according to the season I am in and capacity. Today it looked like this:


spending time connecting with my body through some stretching and movement, paying attention to what it's telling me e.g yesterday I could not be in some postures and movements for so long. This told me some aspect of me has less capacity for sensations and feelings today -- gentle 'back off'. Another part of listening is meditating doing the ol' TB R.A.I.N, checking in with what is lurking, needing attention or more intentional/active meditation e.g working with and aspect

Slowing down,

taking pause before doing things, not rushing or dragging myself through the day. There are aspects of me that hate this and usually its a sign that other aspects whose 'lets get it done' skills are used better elsewhere, are the in the drivers seat

Connection, reached out to a friend, shared openly about current feels and listened. Was useful to get outside my reality. Also wrote an email to someone who I want to deepen connection with

God, making some space in the day for this presence to speak to me

Resting, rescheduled work

Meaning, I allowed myself to engage in a class on a topic that is meaningful to me. I say allow as when I am in self hate/punishment mode, allowing myself to do things that are nourishing is very hard

Basics, getting some water, eating foods that aren't irritants or intoxicating (mood altering) taking supplements

Recovery, speaking to sponsor, sharing with a fellow, doing step work

Yeh today was quite good but some days it really is lying in bed and not trying to hurt myself

I really want to work on having a much less critical and punishing response to mistakes, would love to have this in my compassion kit again. I have made some big ones in the last few years and I know the critical/protective response system has taken over and made my recovery longer and harder
I find two things start the process.

1. Reduction of symptoms - many many many ways to empty out the stress cup - and it starts there. You cant get anywhere until you quit drowning in stress. Like we talked about in another thread a while ago, draining the stress cup is like the tide going out - all boats raise and lower with the tide - same with PTSD symptoms. Reduce whats worst and the rest subside along with it.

2. Quit taking myself so seriously (Self Compassion) - learn to laugh at myself because really - the stuff I do is funny. Learn IT IS. When I run around and stop to clean my glasses because I can't find my glasses? IT'S FUNNY!! And IT IS. The thing with IT IS.....you can't change it, so throw away all the "I could, I might, I should" Because IT IS. When you learn to throw it on the IT IS pile - that's self compassion. Thats not beating yourself up for things beyond your control............

Then - learn self compassion not self pity. Self pity makes me sick. No - not poor me - never poor me. I learned when I lost an eye that self pity was counter productive. No matter what your problems you can figure a way out. Self pity is like rolling in a mud puddle and then complaining you are wet and covered in mud.

Love is acceptance. and when you accept yourself as you are warts and all, you can love yourself....