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What is it?

Self-compassion means being kind to yourself. When we have self-compassion, we show ourselves the same kindness and understanding as we would a friend or someone we care about, even when things don’t happen the way we expect.

It is also about us acknowledging that struggles and challenges are a part of our human life and that everyone goes through them. This can help us feel less alone and to recognise that all human beings deserve compassion and understanding, including ourselves.

Self-compassion can help us to:
  • Cope with life’s challenges, such as mistake and failures
  • Build positive relationships with others
  • Improve our motivation
  • Regulate our emotions
  • Have better overall wellbeing

Showing yourself compassion is tough for lots of reasons. This can include:

  • Not feeling allowed to make mistakes
  • Believing being hard on yourself gets positive results
  • Worrying about being good enough
  • Not feeling worthy of care
  • Not having much experience of others speaking to you in a kind way

It can take time and practice, but small changes can make a big difference.

Try these activities:

  1. Think of a difficult time you’ve experienced recently. How did you treat yourself or ‘speak to’ yourself? We call this your ‘self-talk’. Perhaps you experienced being hard on yourself, judging yourself and being mean to yourself.

Imagine this difficult time had happened to a friend. What would you have said to them? It is likely you would have spoken to them with kindness and understanding, offering them support and encouragement.

Imagine going back to this difficult time you experienced and being more compassionate to yourself; speaking to yourself in the way you would a friend. How would your ‘self-talk’ sound?

  1. The next time you are faced with a challenging time, try to be aware of how you are feeling and how you are speaking to yourself.

Think about what supportive words may help in the moment. What might kindness sound like for you?

Some of the phrases below might help. You don’t have to say them aloud. The aim is to start replacing the critical things you might say to yourself with something kinder. It might also help to close your eyes and put your hands over your heart. This is a small way to shut out the noise of the external world and reconnect to yourself:

“This is really difficult right now.”

“I deserve comfort and care.”

“Today is really hard for me. I can be gentle with myself.”

“I am struggling today like so many people. Like them, I deserve kindness too.”

You may also be interested in finding out about mindfulness as part of the 5 Ways to Wellbeing


How are you? No really, how are you?

Visit our online hub to access our self-care checklist, alongside lots of tips and resources to support your own wellbeing.

Don't forget to take some time out today