If you practice yoga then you’ve most likely heard the instructor talking about compassion. It’s rooted in the sutras as one of the ways to purify the mind. You may have even adopted this practice into your own arsenal, keeping it close in your heart near kindness and tolerance. You probably call on your compassion to stay connected to others.

But are you compassionate towards yourself? Too often we are our own worst enemy. When we make a mistake, or don’t live up to our own expectations we sink into the downward spiral of negativity directed inward. And its tough to pull ourselves out of this which is why prevention is key.

Here are five ways to practice self compassion so you can go easier on yourself and feel happier.

1. Talk to Yourself Like You’d Talk to a Good Friend

Most people would never intentionally hurt a friend. Yet the way we talk to ourselves when we’re unhappy or disappointed with something we’ve done is the exact opposite. How many times have you called yourself an idiot, or something similar? Show yourself some respect, like you would a friend, and put an end to the name calling and mean spirited self-talk.

2. Accept Your Limitations and Imperfections

Even if you are realistic with your expectations, there will still be times when you’re not able to get everything done the way you wanted. Cut yourself some slack and acknowledge what you already know — nobody is perfect!

3. Forgive Yourself

For those times that you do make a mistake, don’t get so worked up. We all do it! Instead, try using it as a lesson in forgiveness. Figure out why you made the mistake. Then let it go.

4. Indulge in Small Pleasures

Sometimes being self compassionate means allowing yourself more of what you love. Whether it’s a one-hour massage or a strawberry ice cream cone, by allowing yourself the opportunity to enjoy, you’re telling yourself you are worth it — which is an integral component of the practice.

5. Take Care of Yourself

Being mindful with what you eat and how you spend your time is a beautiful act of self compassion. When you’re nourishing your mind and body with healthy food and activities like exercise, you’re setting yourself up to feel better about who you are and what you deserve in life.

Now, remember, even if you do all these things regularly, you should also be compassionate with your self compassion practice. As with all practices, we aim for progress, not perfection. Which of these practices will you incorporate today? —Elysha



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