Self-compassion may be a phrase that you’ve heard before. It’s growing popularity is rooted in the evidence that self-compassion can increase our happiness, reduces anxiety and depression, enhances emotional resiliency and more.

So, what does it mean to be compassionate towards ourselves? Is it narcissistic or self-indulgent? Does it mean that you end up being too lenient on yourself and simply increase our self-esteem? Does it imply that you give up trying to grow and change? In fact it’s none of these qualities.

Being compassionate towards yourself means that you treat yourself the way you would a loved one that you care about. Rather than being critical, brutal, and downright cruel to ourselves we engage with a loving, connected presence.

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The Elements of Self Compassion


Self-Kindness (lovingness)

charity (1)

Common Humanity (connectedness)


Mindfulness (presence)

How Self-Compassion Can Be Used In The Counselling Experience

While engaging in counselling whether for anxiety, depression, trauma or any other experiences that you may be encountering it can be helpful to integrate a compassionate approach. By reframing from harsh self- criticism while being present and connected you can create an openness and emotional safety so that you and your counsellor can explore difficult experiences, honour strengths and process emotions.

Ways to Practice Self-Compassion

A simple place to start is to observe how you are talking to yourself. Often we have a running dialogue happening in our mind and don’t fully tune in to the tone, language, and attitude in which we speak with ourselves. You can start by noticing what this dialogue is and ask the question “would I speak this way to a person I care about?”. If the answer is “no” you can inquire what you would say to someone you care about in a similar situation.

By paying attention to our relationship with ourselves we can begin to lay the foundation of mindful self-compassion which has a positive impact in connecting to ourselves and others. There are a number of books and resources available as well as online exercises that you can participate in if you want to extend your self-compassionate growth.

If you find yourself interested in the concept of self-compassion and are looking for an in person therapist in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) or in online counselling please contact myself for a free 20 minute phone consultation.