Health & wellbeing

Christmas compassion

It’s great to spread the love this season, but are you missing out?

There’s a reason we’re told on aeroplanes to put on our own oxygen mask before helping others to do the same – because we can’t be there to support others unless we take care of ourselves. And this applies to life too.

We all recognise Christmas as a time to show love and compassion, but we often forget to direct any of that compassion inward. Plus, how we treat ourselves is reflected in how we let others treat us. If we don’t consider ourselves to be worthy of love and respect, it can discourage other people from showing us the love and respect we deserve.

Acknowledge that you deserve kindness, understanding and acceptance, even when it comes to your imperfections or when you’re going through a challenging time. Here’s how…

Focus on the positive

Measuring ourselves against impossible standards is self-sabotaging and the opposite of self-compassion. Instead, recognise that your unique qualities are what draws other people to you. Also, acknowledge when you’re experiencing a set back without any judgement or blame.

Hush that inner-critic

Be aware of that negative inner voice that insists you can’t achieve things, or worries that you’ll make a fool of yourself. Would you speak to a friend in the same way? Recognise this voice is a result of the negative beliefs we create about ourselves, and that they’re usually very different from what’s really going on. It takes time to banish that voice completely, but recognising it is the first step towards making it quieter.

Remember you’re not alone

There are 7.6 billion people sharing this planet, so it’s very likely that other people are going through similar things to you right now. Imperfection is part of the human experience, and it’s reassuring to remember that we all feel inadequate at times. If you feel comfortable doing so, speak to a close friend or family member about how you’re feeling – they’ll be able to lend an ear and might even feel the same way you do from time to time.