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4 Ways to Show Yourself Compassion When Heartbroken

Updated: Mar 8



How kind are you to others? Do you show the same kindness to yourself? I think the answer for most of us is probably not. Somehow, it’s easier to be kind to someone other than ourselves.


If I’m honest, this is one area I didn’t practice when newly divorced or when I experienced my first heartbreak. Even now, it’s something I want and need to learn more about.


If you’re not familiar with the term self-compassion, one website describes it as:

“…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?”

Basically, self-compassion is taking the kindness you would show others and applying it to yourself.


We should practice self-compassion at all times, but especially when heartbroken. It’s why I’m suggesting 4 ways we can start being kinder to ourselves.


#1. What are you thinking about?

Do you think positive or negative thoughts? 


Are you more focused on the past than the present?


Do you remember what you saw on the news last night more than anything else?


It’s so easy to think about discouraging and fearful things. These thoughts often come unbidden, but we let them linger.


Instead, why don’t we change what we think about? 


Let’s think about the compliment we received a few days ago.


Why don’t we focus on how good the sun feels on our skin?


Or about the people who love us and want the best for us?


Our thoughts matter. 


In fact, there is an entire therapy method centered on changing our thoughts so that our life might change for the better. 


#2. How do you talk to and about yourself?

What is your inner dialogue like? 


Do you say good or bad things about yourself?


Are you patting yourself on the back for a job well done or bemoaning your smallest mistakes on repeat?


I’m asking myself those hard-hitting questions as much as anyone else. 


It’s so easy to major on negative self-talk. But what if we start talking to ourselves the way we would talk to a friend? Let’s say encouraging things and acknowledge what we’re doing right instead of focusing on the things we did wrong. Of course we should admit our mistakes, but we don’t have to drown in them.


#3. What are you doing?

Are you doing things that bring you joy?


Or do you work, sleep, and eat on repeat merely going through the motions?

“Self-care is the practice of taking care of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of your life to promote health and wellness.”

It’s not wrong to take care of yourself. Nor is it wrong to enjoy doing things that help you feel your best.


When you’re grieving, it’s more important than ever to devote time every week to the things that makes you happy. 


What is that for you? Going for a walk, painting, colouring, playing music? The options are endless. 


The point is, spend time doing those things and see if it doesn’t make a difference. 


#4. What can you give yourself?

Are you constantly criticizing yourself? 


Do you hold on to your past mistakes too tightly?


How about giving yourself the gift of encouragement or forgiveness? Sometimes we need to forgive ourselves as much as anyone else. 


There’s also nothing wrong with giving yourself physical gifts once in a while. Why not treat yourself to a good book, your favorite tea, or even a single red rose? 


Why not treat yourself well in general? It’ll lift your spirits. I bet your self-esteem will grow too if that’s an area of weakness. 


In times of heartbreak, we need to be gentler and kinder to ourselves. This is not typically the first thing we do, but being aware of our options is a good start.

Then, we can evaluate our thoughts, inner dialogue, and actions and seek to change them day-by-day.


And while we never want to minimize what we’ve gone through; we need to show ourselves grace and understand that things are harder than usual right now.

Erin Davidson suggests that doing the opposite is like pouring oil on a fire. We wouldn’t do that to a friend, would we? 


Let’s take time to consider how we can ignite self-compassion. I’m doing that even as I write this article. Won't you join me?


 

If you want more strategies for heartbreak recovery, check out my other posts or sign up for my monthly newsletter. I’d be honored to play a small part in your healing journey.


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