We all know the benefits of having just the right amount of self-confidence—but how many of us actually have it? Self-confidence can mean greater levels of happiness and lower levels of anxiety and depression. However, many of us struggle to rebuild self-confidence following a major setback. Countless studies have shown that there’s a strong link between self-confidence and success. Yet, paradoxically, we tend to beat ourselves up in order to push ourselves to succeed. However, positive psychologists have been researching self-compassion, and the results suggest that it’s a tool that can help you rebuild the confidence you need to succeed.
What Is Self-Compassion?
It’s not uncommon to tell yourself things you wouldn’t say to your worst enemy in response to your mistakes. Since we know that we are fully responsible for our failures, it can be difficult to respond to missteps with kindness. Yet that’s exactly what self-compassion asks you to do. Instead of beating yourself up after a mishap, self-compassion teaches you to accept that failure is a part of personal growth. In short, practicing self-compassion is the act of treating yourself the way you’d treat your loved ones. It’s parenting yourself.
It’s Not Self-Esteem:
Self-compassion is not to be confused with self-esteem, which ebbs and flows. Self-esteem has actually shown to be related to thinking you’re better than others. Self-compassion is not about being better than others; it isn’t even about being good. Self-compassion is all about accepting yourself as a human being; it is an understanding that your flaws and mistakes are a natural part of being human. Instead of shaming yourself for the mistakes you made, you accept your mistakes as learning experiences and grow from them.
The Benefits of Self-Compassion:
Self-compassion has been shown to have a multitude of benefits. Because self-compassion means accepting your failures in a way that fosters personal growth, people with high self-compassion tend to be more proactive. Though perfectionism and depression are strongly correlated, perfectionists who have self-compassion skills are less likely to struggle with depression. This is likely due to the fact that the self-compassionate perfectionist is more accepting of the mistakes they made. Thus, they’re better suited to move on instead of dwell.
Self-Compassion Is Not Self-Pity:
Some people wrongly believe that self-compassion will lead to self-pity or complacency. However, self-compassion is not about feeling sorry for yourself. Self-pity involves a distinct feeling of lacking control. People engage in self-pity when they feel as though they are not in control of their circumstances. When you’re compassionate toward yourself, you seek to use your mistakes as opportunities for growth.
How Self-Compassion Fuels Success:
Another common misconception is that self-compassion will lead to complacency. However, research has shown that the opposite is true. People with high self-compassion are more likely to be successful. This is because they’re not afraid to try new things. People who engage in negative self-talk don’t reach for the opportunities that would lead them to success because they react so negatively to failure.
How You Can Practice Self-Compassion Today:
In her TedTalk titled, Dare to Rewire Your Brain for Self-Compassion, Weiyang Xie suggests asking yourself, “Is that really 100% true?” Most of the time, we over exaggerate our faults when we’re speaking poorly to ourselves. Asking if the negative message you’re sending yourself is really 100% true could help you start to second guess the negative thoughts. When you catch yourself being overly harsh and judgemental, try talking to yourself the way you’d talk to a friend going through the same thing.
It is so important to build self-confidence because self-confidence is so closely related to success. And the way we speak to ourselves makes such a large impact on your self-confidence. Everyone makes mistakes, but the successful people are the ones who can accept them and move on. Today is a great day to make the change and become more compassionate toward yourself.