How Self-Compassion Helped Me

It's Saturday. It means weekend and I always love weekend. Weekend means the time to pamper myself by watching movies, reading a book or an ebook, going to post office, learning how to cook, or writing one (or two) blog post(s).

The weather outside is a little bit cloudy and cold. I can feel the wind is blowing. Still, I think it's a good time to write something. I'm in a good mood today.

Today I'm gonna tell you a story. It is a story about me, of course. It's about how a deep wound isn't easy to heal. It will always leave a mark and the wound can be cut open anytime no matter how long the wound is.

So, as you may already know (and I believe my friends are getting bored every time I'm saying this) that I have low self-esteem. I am not pretty and I am not smart. I also tend to ruminate things. It's exhausting. It's tiring.

Wanna know examples for my rumination?

Since I was a child I easily got sick. Until now. I can't help myself but thinking, "Why am I always getting sick? Am I gonna die at young age? Am I gonna get any terminal disease?" Or, "I think the world is gonna end anytime soon." Or, "Geez, I don't think human will survive for next hundreds of years. We're gonna suffer." Or, "Why did he cheat on me? Is it because I'm not attractive enough? Am I ugly? Am I stupid?" There you go.

These kinds of thought -- without me realizing it -- have been consuming me from inside. No wonder I'm physically and psychologically weak. I often deprecate myself. I often get stressed and panic. I worry too much. I think this is contributing to my bad health.

The last few years have not been really great for me. Deaths, illness, betrayals, disappointments, shocking news have made me exaggerating things. I called friends just to cry and blame every thing. To look at it clearly now, I made myself as the center of the universe at the time. I thought my problems were the most problematic and sophisticated ever in the whole world. These were hard for me. I viewed myself as a victim. At one point, those became my justification for me to be a jerk myself.

Just when I thought things were getting better, I had to be crushed again. The wound that caused by someone often times still open and bleed. I was never completely healed. Few months back I had relapses. I was so down. 

Then my psychologist suggested me to read about self-compassion. You know, it's funny that I've never heard of self-compassion before. I mean, I studied psychology. That made me doubt myself as a psychology student. Ha, ha.

Well, back to self-compassion.

The first thing I did was watching the TED Talk given by Kristin Neff. She studies self-compassion for more than 15 years now. Definitely she's one of the leading experts about self-compassion.

We are often our own worst critics. We are our own enemies. It's easy for us to say bad things--things that we will never say to our loved ones--to ourselves. Question is: Why? Why can't we treat ourselves with loving and kindness just like we treat our partner, family, and best friends? Do we ever realize how devastating the effect will be if we continue to be hard on ourselves?

After watching that, I was getting more curious. So, I read an ebook titled Self-Compassion by Kristin Neff. Though I think it's a little bit of autobiography, but it's still a cool book. It's an eye opener. It doesn't only write about self-compassion (or her life story), but also gives you guidance how to practice it.

I'm not gonna discuss the whole book here. It will be very long and boring. Besides, this post is about my story, remember? But, I'm still gonna give you a glimpse from the book.

First of all, what is self-compassion? From her website:

Having compassion for oneself is really no different than having compassion for others. ... Self-compassion involves acting the same way towards yourself when you are having a difficult time, fail, or notice something you don’t like about yourself. Instead of just ignoring your pain with a “stiff upper lip” mentality, you stop to tell yourself “this is really difficult right now,” how can I comfort and care for myself in this moment?

There are three components of self-compassion. They are:

1. Self-Kindness
that we be gentle and understanding with ourselves rather than harshly critical and judgmental.

2. Common Humanity
feeling connected with others in the experience of life rather than feeling isolated and alienated by our suffering.

3. Mindfulness
that we hold our experience in balanced awareness, rather than ignoring our pain or exaggerating it.

So, it's okay to have flaws. It's okay to be hurtful. It's okay to fail. We're human after all. We don't have to be perfect. What important is that you have to love and respect yourself and accept your flaws.

When I incorporate it into my life, I feel so much different now. In a good way. When I relapsed one more time, I tried to calm myself. I said, "Kimi, I know you're feeling hurt right now and it's suck. You're not who you think you are. You're a sweet, kind, and loving person. You're not ugly and you're not stupid. Stop blaming yourself. Believe me, you're gonna be okay. You're gonna get pass through this. You have to know that you're not alone. You're not the first person who experienced this. Other people experience this feeling as well. Don't alienate yourself. Don't ever think that this is the end of the world."

Or when there are flashbacks of bad memories suddenly interrupting me, I take a deep breath and pause for a moment. Instead of being reactive like I used to (by panicking or crying), I welcome those flashbacks. I'm watching them like I watch a movie, but no feelings involved. I aware of these memories. They already happened in the past and nothing that I can do to change them. So, what's the point of being angry, sad, and self-blaming? Nothing. I accepted the facts that I was foolish, reckless, and bad at decision-making. I will learn from them so it won't happen again in the future.

However, there is one important thing why it is so much easier for me to incorporate self-compassion. I have found the closure for the recurrent bleeding wound. I know what caused it and I accept it. That's the key: acceptance, so I can make peace with myself. Hopefully, it will last forever.

Thank you to my psychologist who has helped me to find my closure. And thank you for suggesting me to learn about self-compassion. It works, Mbak Icha. I'm so much better now. I promise that I will always practice self-compassion. It helps me in so many levels. This blog post is the proof. I can calmly write the most damaging wound that I ever had.


  1. celebrating our self-achivement is also one of my way to help me self heal myself~

    1. walah.. ruwet... wkwkwk kepotong pas submit.. intinya itu lah

    2. Iya, Mas. Iya. Aku paham. Jangan pundung begitu. *digetok*

  2. Keep up your spirits and enjoy your activities, Kak. Brainwash you to say I'm healthy, I can do something, I can fight, say I can and I can always.

  3. Yang bagian playing victim itu setuju juga. Saya pikir-pikir sikap playing victim itu adalah awal mula dari masalah-masalah yang lain, karena pelaku seolah-olah memiliki pembenaran untuk melakukan segala hal yang destruktif terhadap orang lain dan tak jarang juga diri sendiri.

    1. Iya, Mas. Sejujurnya saya sendiri juga kesulitan untuk lepas dari mental playing victim ini. Sepertinya manusia memang terlatih untuk playing victim ya. =))

  4. you are absolutely on point with this one, it's important to be compassionate to yourself, otherwise you'll end up hurting yourself (and other people around you) with your own train of thoughts. it's a well written article, love it! cheers & salam kenal <3

    1. Thank you, Mbak Agi. Salam kenal juga. Aku sudah mampir ke blognya dan aku suka dengan tulisan-tulisan Mbak. Sudah aku subscribe di Feedly aku. :D


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