Compassion is defined as the sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress, and the desire to alleviate this distress together. We often find being compassionate towards others as almost an autopilot response. However, being compassionate to ourselves is not always as easy. When we are struggling with our thoughts and feelings, we can sometimes be hard on ourselves, and not give ourselves the care that we need to manage at that time.
Learning how to be self-compassionate can soothe both our brain and body when it is stuck in a response that protects us from threats. By practicing this, we can develop new habits and responses that allow us to manage the thoughts and feelings that may be causing us distress. To be more compassionate towards ourselves, we can reflect on the common qualities of compassion and project these into our responses. To do this, use the term SAFE – Sympathy, Acceptance, Forgiveness and Empathy. The table below shows what each term of SAFE stands for, and a little bit about each one. Try to reflect on these qualities to help develop a sense of self-compassion.