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You Deserve Self-Compassion

Written by: Skyler Clark

I believe if there was one thing I could gift all of my clients with as they started their work with me it would be self-compassion. I so often sit in front of people who share their hearts and stories with me. They sit and tell me of struggles of so many emotions and experiences. They detail feelings of sadness, anger, grief, anxiety but when I begin to explore with them how they feel over themselves for having that emotion there’s almost always self-judgment. These statements often sound like “I shouldn’t feel this way” or “I’m broken because I struggle with this”. There are feelings of guilt and low self-worth for the experiencing of these emotions that they feel. It makes it where these clients cannot even begin to work through the emotions because they struggle to allow themselves to even feel those things. There tends to be so much shame for many of these clients for the ways they feel they are reacting to things going on in their lives. 


            And yet as I continue to learn their stories it becomes so clear as to why they are experiencing those emotions. It makes sense why they are struggling with anxiety or depression or anger. Our emotions are like signals showing us what is going on inside of us. We are shaped by our experiences as these things help to form who we are and how we think about ourselves or view the world around us. We are shaped by these events and the beliefs we have about them. The things we are feeling can help us to heal if we tune into what they may be trying to tell us. 

In the Christian community we often believe feeling certain things is wrong or sinful. We feel guilt or shame for feeling sadness instead of joy or anxiety instead of trusting God. Sometimes we feel we are failing at being a “good Christian” or we just need to push those feelings aside. 


            When we feel judgment over ourselves for the ways we are feeling then we tend to work to push those emotions aside instead of listening to them. We then struggle not only with that emotion but the feelings of resentment towards ourselves for feeling that way or even towards others for triggering that emotion within us. We then may also experience low self-worth or hopelessness as it feels as though something is wrong with us for the emotions or thoughts we may have. It also creates an avoidance of the very emotions that we need to work through in order to heal. Creating safety for feeling those emotions can start with finding compassion for yourself and what you’ve been through. 

What would it be like to set this self-judgment aside and begin learning how to have compassion towards ourselves for the hard things we are experiencing as well as difficult past events we have gone through? I often tell my clients to replace self-judgment with curiosity. Why are these emotions showing up? What is it trying to tell me? What have I gone through that has led to these feelings? We tend to be so hard on ourselves that we forget all we have been through or all the things we juggle on a daily basis. Taking a step back to hear what may be going on inside you can give so much relief and insight into what you may need. Our emotions serve to help us heal! 


            As Christians we can know that God created all emotions and there doesn't have to be shame when we experience even the hard ones. When we stop pushing away these emotions out of self-judgment, we can name what we are feeling and pray over it and allow God to work though those things to lead us to deeper healing. His Word tells us to be anxious for nothing, so when we are feeling anxious, we can still own this emotion and pray that He would show us what is creating this anxiety so that we can work through it instead of pushing it aside. We can also rest in the many verses that point to His love for us no matter what it is we are struggling with. God loves the struggling parts of you just as much as the parts we feel we are doing well in. Perhaps verses on love and compassion and freedom from shame will help you more as you navigate how to incorporate more self-compassion into your thoughts!

It’s easy to get caught up in telling ourselves these emotions that don’t feel good must be bad and it must mean something is wrong with me. We make up rules for how long we should be feeling an emotion and beat ourselves up for struggling longer than we are “supposed to”. But what freedom would it give you to move forward in healing if you began to give yourself compassion for the things you’ve been through and the emotions that are coming up for you. What would it change to be thankful for even some of the uncomfortable emotions as they are like lights on a dashboard pointing you towards what may need healing. You are so worth compassion and so worthy no matter your struggles. 


            So, what are some ways you may begin to change self-judgment to self-compassion? Here are some journal prompts or questions to guide your thoughts:

  1. What are hard emotions you are currently experiencing? What does experiencing this emotion cause you to believe about yourself?

  2. In what way may this emotion be trying to help you heal? 

  3. What hard things have you been through or are currently going through that may be impacting your emotions?

  4. What ways can you give yourself compassion for the hard things you went through and the hard emotions this may have caused? 


Some things to tell yourself:

  1. There is no time limit on healing.

  2. You did the best you knew how to do at the time.

  3. You are allowed to feel whatever emotion you feel, even if you don’t understand why it’s there. 

  4. You are safe to feel your emotions.

  5. You are not bad or wrong for struggling with hard feelings. 

  6. You are deserving of self-compassion.



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