Are You Too Harsh on Yourself? Delving Into Self-Compassion and Productivity

You need to admit it — on some days, you’re being a little bit too hard on yourself. Sometimes tiny flaws happen, and in a flash, you already feel the urge to scold yourself for the inadequacy that you did. 

Imagine, if someone treats your best friend in such an unkind manner, chances are, you would be ready to stand up for them. You’d also be glad to tell them not to worry about the world because being their best friend is already a whole to you.

Now, let’s reflect: when was the last time you spoke kindly to ourselves and treated ourselves with the same care you would offer a friend?

If being kind to oneself intrigues you to do more – open your heart, and let’s delve into self-compassion together, starting with how self-compassion is defined in the field of science.

What is self-compassion?

Kristin Neff (2011), a leading researcher in self-compassion, describes self-compassion as the tendency to treat oneself with kindness and empathy while acknowledging that everyone has weaknesses and imperfections. Additionally, it involves being mindful of one’s thoughts and feelings without being judgmental and experiencing the present moment in a clear and balanced way.

Importance of self-compassion

Interestingly, later research confirmed some fascinating results that self-compassion benefits productivity. 

A recent study by Jennings, Lanaj, and Kim (2022) found that individuals with a self-compassionate mindset showed better work performance and overall well-being. This was attributed to the increase in resource capacity and motivation, the reduction in depletion feelings, and an increase in work self-esteem. As a result, individuals reported higher daily work engagement and resilience, leading to greater progress toward work goals and a heightened sense of meaning in life.

Lefebvre, Montani, and Courcy’s (2020) study supports the finding. It reveals that individuals who adopt a self-compassionate attitude are more inclined to choose positive coping strategies, develop emotional intelligence, and engage in health-promoting behaviors. Generally, it was shown to help maintain a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and improve sleep habits. These practices can help build resilience and increase overall well-being.

Furthermore, a study by Neff, Hsieh, and Dejitterat (2005) proposes that 51% of participants who practice self-compassion from their recent midterm exam grade in the course somehow have more coherent adaptive achievement goals and coping strategies. Results imply that self-compassion helps to facilitate the learning process by freeing participants from the debilitating consequences of harsh self-criticism, isolation, and over-identification in the face of failure and instead provides them with self-kindness.

Practices to build self-compassion

After reading the concept of self-compassion, let’s dig deeper into the practices of building self-compassion in one’s life:

Know how to forgive yourself

Forgiving yourself means letting go of negative self-talk and replacing it with self-compassion. It involves acknowledging and accepting past mistakes, learning from them, and using that knowledge to move forward positively. Learning to forgive yourself can be challenging but transformative to your overall well-being.

Learn to embrace failure

Embracing failure with self-compassion means being kind to yourself and Learning to forgive yourself can be challenging but transformative to your overall well-being. understanding that failure is a natural part of life. It’s an opportunity to learn and grow rather than a reason to criticize yourself. This approach helps build self-esteem, resilience, and motivation to keep going.

Adopt an attitude of gratitude

Adopting an attitude of gratitude can also be a component of self-compassion. You can cultivate a more positive and supportive attitude toward yourself by appreciating yourself and your accomplishments. 

Recite daily affirmations

Affirmations are positive statements you repeat to yourself to counter negative self-talk and promote a more positive mindset. You can start doing affirmations like “I am grateful for all the things that happen in my life,” “I love myself more and more each day,” or “I am capable of learning new things every day.” By reciting these affirmations, you can build new thinking patterns that can help you be more compassionate to yourself. 

Practice guided meditation

Practicing guided meditation can help cultivate self-compassion. Meditation allows one to slow down and turn inward, becoming more aware of one’s thoughts and emotions. One such meditation might involve visualizing receiving compassionate friend support and encouragement. 

Alternatively, one might focus on the physical sensations associated with self-compassion, such as warmth, softness, or a feeling of lightness. 

In conclusion

Self-compassion is treating oneself with kindness and empathy, acknowledging that everyone has shortcomings, and being mindful of one’s thoughts and feelings in a non-judgmental way. The benefits of self-compassion are far-reaching, including improved productivity, better work performance, and increased resilience. Indeed, it’s not something that needs to be done in one night. It requires mindful practices to build self-compassion as a part of one’s self – until it becomes a positive habit. Each individual’s self-compassion journey is unique. Remember to always be kind to yourself in finding what works best for you.

If you would like to know more about self-compassion, visit the Personal Productivity Science Labs. The lab uses the research of the Institute for Life Management Science to produce courses, certifications, podcasts, videos, and other tools. Check out the Personal Productivity Science Labs today.

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