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About a week ago, I was watching a video and the woman in the video told me to think of
the three people in my life that are the most important to me. Immediately, I thought of my mom,
my sister, and my grandfather. Thinking I had gotten the right answer, I waited patiently until
she said something so surprising that I simply sat there and reflected for several minutes. She
simply asked if I was on the list of the people that are the most important to me. It should have
been a no brainer that I was on the list because I should consider myself to be important. Yet, I
wasn’t. After reading through the comments on this video, I realized that of the over 2,000
comments, most said that they didn’t include themselves either. In today’s society, where we see
so much negativity and harsh words being thrown at others, don’t we owe it to ourselves to be
kind to yourself first so that you have to tools to be kind to others?
According to Dr. Barbara Markway, as a society, people hold on to the belief that by
criticizing ourselves, we will change into a better, more social person. In reality, though, the
more we tell ourselves to toughen up, the more anxiety we develop. According to Markway, we
put up barriers so that we get into this mindset that we do not deserve self-acceptance. Those
barriers can include the believing that we are defective or that we’re giving up control over our
internal fight.
Why is self-compassion and self-acceptance important? According to Dr. Susan David,
people who have more self-compassion have a tendency to be more motivated, and in turn, be
more successful over a period of time. She explained that while people with more self-
compassion understand where they go wrong, but they learn from the experience rather than

getting caught up in the blame game. David also explained that while building self-compassion
for yourself, it’s vital to not criticize yourself. To do this, imagine that you are talking to the
child version of yourself. Would you punish them if they were struggling with a problem or
emotion? No. We would naturally try to comfort and soothe them, which is what we need to do
to ourselves when we are struggling.
So, how do we build self-compassion for ourselves? There are several different ways, and
first we’re going to look at exercises that Dr. Kristin Neff recommends. The exercises include
asking yourself how you would treat a friend? Would you say the things that you’re saying to
yourself to a friend? If the answer is no, take that as a cue to change not only the words you’re
using, but also the way you’re saying them to yourself. Next, keep a self-compassion journal.
Write in this journal at the end of each day and go over all of the day’s difficulties with a lens of
Life is not perfect, by any standard. If we expect ourselves to be perfect and live up to
every impossible standard that we put in place for ourselves, we will continuously feel like we
are not good enough. Finding a place within yourself that is both accepting and compassionate is
not easy, especially if you have been telling yourself for years that you do not deserve
acceptance or compassion. You deserve happiness, and you deserve to be happy with yourself.

Communication Major Political Science Major Concentration in Human Communication Member of the UIndy Honors College Her Campus at Indy Vice President and Co-Social Media Director
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