self-care

Interview: 9 Powerful Ways to Care for Your Emotional Health

In this PsychCentral post, I shared my perspective on emotional health: what it is and how self-compassion is a powerful tool in caring for this aspect of ourselves. I describe emotional health as “the ability to feel and respond to emotions in a way that is adaptive and functional, that supports one’s relationships and autonomy, and is in alignment with one’s core values.” I also shared my perspective on the ways that emotions give us vital information about ourselves and our needs, telling us whether our needs are being met or not. Emotional health is intentionally choosing to respond to an emotion, instead of reacting “in a way that is habitual, unconsidered and often unconscious.”

Quoted in PsychCentral: A Different Take on New Year's Resolutions

In this PsychCentral article, I share my perspective on how to think about New Year’s Resolutions in a more self-compassionate way, and how self-compassion is a form of unconditional self-esteem: “It is an understanding that you are worthy of love and acceptance as you are right now; no matter how many wrinkles you have, how much you weigh or what your body composition may be. It is inherently stable: you don’t have to earn love or hustle for worthiness. You are deserving of it right now.”

Quoted in PsychCentral: 5 Ways to Deepen Your Relationship With Yourself

In this post from PsychCentral, I share my perspective on how self-compassion is a fundamental aspect of having a deeper relationship with yourself. I suggested a few ways to do this. For example, as you go about your day, notice what you say “yes” to. These are activities and needs that will deeply nourish you. Then listen to yourself, and act on these yeses. I shared these examples: “Yes, I’m going to go out with friends rather than work late (like I do most nights); yes, I want to take that class that is interesting to me that I think I don’t have time for; yes, I want to take care of my finances so I’m going to call my student loan servicer; yes, I want to be more mindful in my relationships so I’m going to reflect on what I want to say in response to a challenging email.”

Quoted in PsychCentral: Why Self-Compassion Isn't Self-Indulgent

In this article on PsychCentral, I share my perspective on the very common idea that self-compassion is about letting yourself off the hook and having no self-discipline. “Shinraku likened self-compassion to being a “good-enough parent”: a parent who’s kind and gives their kids boundaries. ‘A good-enough parent doesn’t just let their child eat ice cream and play video games all day every day; they know that indulging them in that way would actually not be compassionate or kind. It would be harmful.’”

Self-Compassion for Healthier Relationships

It’s probably obvious that cultivating self-compassion will help you come into a healthier relationship with yourself. When you practice interrupting old patterns of self-criticism and relating to your experience with greater curiosity and less judgment, your internal climate becomes significantly friendlier.

Self-Compassion for "Unforced Errors"

If you’re human, you’ve probably made an unforced error. An unforced error is a sports term that refers to a missed shot or lost point (as in tennis or volleyball) that’s entirely a result of the player's own error and not because of the opponent's skill or effort. In other words, it’s the shot you “should” have made. You’ve made shots like that hundreds, maybe thousands of times, yet for some reason, you missed it this time. 

Self-Compassion Just Might Save Your Life

I had an experience recently which re-affirmed for me that self-compassion is probably the most powerful tool I have. Some might wonder how that could be true. While more people are becoming aware of the importance of self-compassion in mental health and well-being, it still runs counter to the values of the prevailing mainstream culture that tends to emphasize immediate gratification, competition, and self-esteem based on hierarchical achievement.