Self Compassion Worksheets

In this article, self compassion will be outlined with ways to practice self compassion. Sign up to receive self compassion worksheets {PDF} and exercises to practice a new pattern of living and relating.

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What is compassion?

In order to define self compassion, it’s helpful to first define compassion. Compassion is to feel deeply for another person as they experience the ups and downs in life. In addition to feeling deeply for another, we are moved to action to relieve suffering. Notice how feelings motivate action. While compassion has some similarities to sympathy and empathy, it’s more than a feeling – compassion motivates action. Whereas sympathy is understanding what someone is feeling and empathy is feeling what someone is feeling. Compassion understands, feels and is moved to relieve the suffering someone is experiencing.

Jesus Demonstrates Compassion

According to the Blue Letter Bible, compassion occurs 71 times in the Bible, primarily referring to God in the Old Testament and Jesus in the New Testament. How comforting to know that God understands our pain and is moved to do something about it (Exodus 33:19).

What is self compassion?

So, this brings us to self compassion. Kristen Neff, the leading researcher on self compassion,  defines self compassion as giving ourselves the same kindness we would give to a good friend. In other words, when we experience a negative event or negative emotions we can be kind to ourselves. Unfortunately, most people are hard on themselves instead of being gracious toward themselves. We tend to have a harsh inner critic that says critical words that we would never dream of saying to another person.

3 Elements of Self Compassion

The leading researcher on self compassion is Kristin Neff. She indicates that there are three elements of self compassion:

1. Self Kindness

Someone who practices self compassion knows that life is not perfect (John 16:33), nor are we perfect (Romans 3:23). These two truths align with Scripture and help us to be kind to ourselves when we don’t meet our desired expectations.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,… Romans 3:23

Many of us have a propensity to begin to engage in critical self talk. As our inner critic takes over we add to the burden and weight of unmet expectations, failures and inadequacies. This type of critical self-talk results in mental health symptoms such as increased anxiety and depression as well as decreased sense of self worth.

2. Common Humanity

When life doesn’t go the way we hoped, it’s easy to buy into the lie that we are the only ones faced with difficulties or the only ones with shortcomings. When we believe our situation is unique and we believe we are the only ones dealing with hard things or failures we will experience shame and isolation. Whereas acknowledging that things don’t always go as planned or we all have weaknesses not only leads to greater self compassion it is the reality!

3. Mindfulness

Being mindful is another way of saying self-awareness. When paying attention to thoughts and feelings we can get a better understanding of what is going on in our heart (Proverbs 20:5). Deeper understanding will help us address negative thoughts and emotions without magnifying or minimizing what is going on in our heart.

The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out. Proverbs 20:5

The three elements of self compassion are best summed up like this… Practice being kind to yourself rather than letting your harsh inner critic loose. Remember and acknowledge everyone deals with suffering, failures and difficulties. You are not alone in this! And finally, pay attention to thoughts and feelings so that you can address your heart with compassion.

Benefits of Self Compassion

Compassionate people experience some wonderful benefits! Research shows increased happiness results from practicing self compassion. People have a tendency to be more optimistic and practice gratitude more readily. Self compassion is the opposite of self criticism. When we can remove the harsh inner critic and grasp onto grace we experience less stress, anxiety and depression. As a result, it opens the door to taking healthy risks, increased resilience and a growth mindset. People who practice self compassion also report overall satisfaction with life, increased sense of self-worth and improved body image (this one’s for the ladies out there!). So, why not practice self compassion?

Printable Self Compassion Worksheets PDF

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    Why Practice Self Compassion

    Don’t forget to download the self compassion worksheets {PDF} to get the “how to” guide at your fingertips! These self compassion exercises are a great way to get started on practicing self compassion. I encourage you to choose a couple different ways to practice being kind to yourself and take a self compassion break each day to build a new pattern of grasping onto grace. Weave these practices into your daily life is a great way to improve negative thoughts and emotions.

    12 Ways to Practice Self Compassion

    1. Be aware of critical self talk. Silence your inner critic and replace harsh words with words that build up (Ephesians 4:29).

    2. Recognize that everyone has strengths and weaknesses.

    3. Acknowledge that no one is perfect and all are in need of grace! 

    4. Stop making “should” statements. Replace “should” with “it would be nice if”.

    5. Practice affirming what God says about youGet the PDF here.

    6. Stop the all or nothing thinking – most things fall into grey areas. Making a mistake or facing challenging times does not make you a failure.

    7. Practice new phrases like – “I don’t have to have it all figured out”, “I did my best”, “I’m okay”.

    8. Don’t play the comparison game. Everyone in every situation is unique. God has every person uniquely positioned to bring Him glory.

    9. View mistakes as opportunities for learning and growth. It is our mistakes or difficult situations that grow us spiritually and personally more than anything else. Mistakes are worth celebrating because it can lead to good things(James 1:2-3)!

    10. Talk to yourself like you would talk to a good friend or someone you love dearly and wouldn’t want to hurt.

    11. Practice self-care and rest when you need it. Do this instead of pushing yourself beyond your means.

    12. Stop beating yourself up for past mistakes. Let go of regrets and failures. Receive God’s forgiveness and move forward.

    13. Self compassion journaling (in the free worksheets) is a great way to increase your self awareness through mindfulness. Pay attention to your negative self-talk and replace it with a new script.

    14. Be prayerful. Ask God to help you with self compassion and grasping onto grace. His grace is sufficient for you and His power is made perfect in your weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). Condemnation that comes from within ourselves is not God’s best for you.

    But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

    15. Practice gratitude. We have a tendency to focus on our flaws and the things going wrong in our lives. Imagine if you focused on your strengths, blessings or the good things in your life. How might that improve your mental health, spiritual health and overall life satisfaction?

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      Wrapping Up Self Compassion

      Self compassion is feeling, understanding and taking action to remove the suffering you are experiencing. Practicing self compassion largely requires trading critical self talk for self kindness. Additionally, self compassion means acknowledging your human and being aware of thoughts and feelings so they can be addressed with patience and gentleness toward yourself. The benefits of self compassion include improved mental health, improved body image and an improved sense of self-worth. Other benefits are increased happiness and overall satisfaction with life. So what do you have to lose? Get started today with the printable self compassion worksheets. This is a great worksheet to begin a new thing and it will yield long term results with practice.

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