How To Cultivate Self-Compassion and a spotlight on RAFT Staff

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How to Cultivate Self-Compassion 


What is self-compassion?

Self-compassion and self-love are largely used interchangeably in specialized literature. Research shows that having more self-compassion builds resilience in the face of adversity, helping people to recover more quickly from trauma or romantic separation. It also helps us to better cope with failure or embarrassment.

But what is it, exactly? Drawing on the work of Kristin Neff — a professor of human development at the University of Texas at Austin, defines self-compassion as a construct that encompasses three components:

  • self-kindness (i.e., treating oneself with understanding and forgiveness),
  • recognition of one’s place in shared humanity (i.e., acknowledgment that people are not perfect and that personal experiences are part of the larger human experience),
  • and mindfulness (i.e., emotional equanimity and avoidance of overidentification with painful emotions).

“Self-kindness entails being warm and understanding toward ourselves when we suffer, fail, or feel inadequate, rather than flagellating ourselves with self-criticism,” writes Professor Neff.

Easier said than done? You might think so, but luckily, the same researchers who worked hard to study and define the feeling have also come up with a few useful tips for enhancing it.

Learning to listen to yourself. Listening to yourself can mean two things. Firstly, paying attention to how you internally talk to yourself is crucial for learning to cultivate an intimate feeling of self-love. A second reason why listening to yourself is important is that, during times of emotional distress, asking yourself the question “What do I need?” — and listening mindfully to the answer — can prove invaluable.

We are much harsher to ourselves than we would be to others, or than how we would expect others to treat us. So, to replace this harsh inner voice with a kinder one, you can simply notice it — which is already a step toward quietly subduing it — and actively try to soften it.

Or, you can try to rephrase the observations that you may have initially formulated quite harshly in the words of a kinder, more forgiving person.

Finally, you could try writing a letter to yourself from the perspective of the kind, compassionate friend that you have been to others.

Adapted from Medical News Today.


Spotlight on RAFT Staff


Keyonia Waters, LPC

Keyonia has been a mental health therapist on the RAFT team for over 2 years.

What is your favorite thing about being a therapist on the raft team? 

Our amazing clients!  I love meeting and chatting with clients, hearing their stories and seeing their smiles.  I really like the RAFT team we all work well together.

What are you looking forward to in the new year? 

I look forward to brunches with friends, hugs from my church family, and going on trips.

What do you do when you aren’t working?

I love to paint,  it’s so relaxing.  I love spending time with family and friends.

Do you have any special tradition for Valentine’s Day or Galentine’s day?

Yes! I love Valentine’s Day, I actually love all holidays. This year I plan to prepare a nice dinner for my parents. I appreciate them so much and I'm so grateful for them. Celebrating my parents on Valentine’s Day is a tradition for me.

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