It might surprise you to hear that one of the best ways to cultivate a hopeful, optimistic outlook is to practice some radical self-compassion.
Frequently people confuse self-compassion with self-indulgence or even selfishness. But being kind to yourself is just as important as being kind to others, if not more so.
1. Self-Compassion Makes You More Optimistic
Being kind to yourself means you can stop that vicious cycle of self-blame and recrimination. It prevents you from ruminating on past mistakes and builds your resilience and confidence so you can pick yourself up and get back on track.
When you are kind and encouraging to yourself, your anxiety levels drop, your mood lifts, and you become more optimistic and hopeful about the future.
2. Cultivate Mindfulness
Perhaps the best way to start your self-compassion practice is to adopt a more mindful attitude to life. Mindfulness focuses on the acceptance of who you are, where you are right now. With all your faults and all your glory. Accept that whatever you're experiencing and feeling in the present moment is okay.
Mindfulness and self-compassion help you to overcome denial and hesitation in your reality. It allows space for hope to come in.
3. Accept that Hard Times Are Part of the Deal
Self-compassion accepts that all human lives are a mixture of hard times and good times. Often the bad things that happen are out of your control. All you can do is decide how you're going to react. Will you be overwhelmed, or will you be angry? Or will you roll with punches, learn from your experiences, and get back on the horse?
In times of fear or illness or natural disasters or any other of life's stressors, self-compassion allows you to take guilt or blame out of the equation and deal with whatever you're faced with.
4. Treat Yourself As You Would A Friend
Take a moment to look at how you're reacting. What is your self-talk saying to you? Are you reassuring yourself that things will work out okay, or are you beating yourself up for something you did or didn't do? Would you talk to your best friend like that? How would they feel?
Be as gentle in your self-talk as you would to a loved one who is in crisis. Be loving and kind, and reassuring. Extend the hand of hope to your own heart, and help yourself on the first steps back towards better times.
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