We are born into a social species, being cooperative and caring for others is hard wired into our DNA. So, it’s not surprising that when we see suffering, sometimes that suffering has caused compassion to rise in us for others. And when our hearts are touched by suffering, we often do what we can to alleviate it.

But what if it’s US that’s suffering?

And what if, because we are not aware of this suffering, we respond in an unthinking way with emotive feelings of guilt, frustration, self-criticism, anger, or sadness? or perhaps we ‘self-medicate’ with potential health threatening and destructive habits…

So how can we encourage compassion for ourselves?

Try this: when you become aware of those feelings and your habitual responses in thinking and acting out, pause, take a breath … question yourself – what’s happening here? What’s triggered this reaction?

Take some time and make space in yourself, by using a relaxation technique or simply focusing on the breath for a minute, to be open to whatever is going on.

This easy practice is available to everyone, anytime – to simply BECOME MORE AWARE of what’s happening.
It can be very helpful to use regular awareness practices such as mindfulness to help regain your inner balance, build resilience and encourage insight.

You can also get feedback of your moods and behaviours from someone close to you. There are lots of books and resources to help you discover your personal inner patterns and the hurts and motivations that drive them.

Only by being aware of what’s going on in you can you begin to recognise these repeating behaviours and moods as you experience them when triggered, and you will come to recognise and be aware of the triggers too.

With awareness comes insight, with insight comes understanding, with understanding comes self-compassion.

The wisdom of this ongoing practice cultivates an equanimity that will allow you to be with, to abide with, whatever is going on without habitual reaction.

Applying self-compassion, a gentle acceptance and warm understanding of yourself is an ongoing process that can help you to achieve not just a life of more balance, but a life of well-being and happiness.

Check out our relaxation techniques on our health and well-being meditations HERE