2. Common Humanity
When you hit a hard time, do you feel all alone in what you’re experiencing?
“Divorce and interpersonal loss are very isolating and can lead to loneliness,” Dr. Sbarra says. This is when the “common humanity” component comes into play—you can normalize your experience and think that you’re not the first person to go through this, and you won’t be the last. “Many people have dealt with this and recovered well. This connects you to the bigger experience, making you feel part of something that people have experienced,” Dr. Sbarra says.
Journal: On a smaller scale with the restaurant mishap, you could put things in perspective by realizing and writing that “Everyone overreacts sometimes.”
You might also want to think about the various conditions underlying the event—realizing that different circumstances affect your behavior lets yourself off the hook a bit. (Like say: I was late for my doctor’s appointment and this made me especially grumpy.)
The last pillar of self-compassion sounds simple, but it still takes some practicing.
“Self-kindness is not only releasing self-judgment but also active self soothing,” Dr. Neff says.
So aside from forgiving yourself and not beating yourself up, go out of your way to reassure yourself and offer understanding and caring words.
Journal: Try writing some kind, accepting words like “It’s OK, you messed up but it wasn’t the end of the world…”
If you have trouble changing your tone, consider this: “Most people know how to be kind and supportive to a good friend,” so Dr. Neff suggests thinking of what you’d say to them.
And it’s not all talk that makes a difference.
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