Are you too Hard on Yourself? Tips to Boost Self-Compassion and Reset Your Life

Dionne Nicholls-Germain

by Dionne Nicholls-Germain


Are you tired of beating yourself up all the time?

You’re not alone. We might know God forgave our sins through Jesus, but we continue to carry the weight of our sins, failures and mistakes. When we learn to practice self-compassion we embrace God’s grace and never ending mercy. We all make mistakes. God already knew in our humanity we would, so he made the ultimate sacrifice and gave us the greatest gift of forgiveness. He loves us that much and wants us to see ourselves the way he sees us: whole, complete, lacking nothing with love and tenderness. Practicing self-compassion will accelerate your journey of achieving your personal and professional goals as a woman and make it a much more joyful experience.

What is self-compassion?

Self compassion is the ability to extend kindness and understanding to oneself in times of failure or suffering. When you experience negative emotions because you made a mistake, failed, or are faced with feelings of inadequacy, you can choose to approach it without judgment or self-criticism.

Women are especially vulnerable to this. As we wear many hats, we tend to hold such high expectations of what being a wife or leader should look like that we’ll beat ourselves up over the same thing over and over again, sometimes for years if we miss the mark! In one global study of over 1300 leaders’ mindsets and behaviors, self-compassion consistently ranked lowest. The ability to show ourselves kindness is a blindspot for women across the world.

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Why is self-compassion so important for a successful reset?

People who practice self-compassion become more resilient and adaptable to setbacks, which you will inherently face as you embark on your growth journey.

While our harsh inner critic does play some role in trying to protect us, it can go into overdrive when we are about to initiate a transition into uncharted territory. Our survival mechanisms aim to minimize pain and keep us safe within our comfort zone. But moving beyond our comfort zones is necessary for any kind of spiritual and personal growth, and learning to treat ourselves with the patient compassion God shows us is crucial.

Take Mary*, for example. Mary was in a work environment where she was chronically overloaded with responsibilities, underpaid and overlooked for promotion for more than 10 years. It was through the practice of self-compassion that she was able to make the decision to put herself and her own well-being first and leave that environment.

How do you build up your self-compassion?

God invites us to keep growing in compassion, and the first step in building your self-compassion muscle is cultivating a growth mindset, as researcher Carol Dweck describes it.

Instead of going into a well-worn cycle of self beratement, judgment, and criticism—typical behaviors when we are too hard on ourselves—you can:

1. Honor your feelings. Do not suppress or ignore them, for what we resist will persist and will eventually come out in some other unhealthy way. Rather acknowledge the feelings as real, and let yourself feel them.

2. Offer yourself words of self-compassion. Speak to yourself as you would someone you loved who was disappointed: “I did the best that I could.” “It’s ok if I feel disappointed with myself.” “Of course I would feel bummed that I couldn't show up for them the way I would have liked.”

3. Find the lesson. A powerful exercise is to ask ‘what’ instead of ‘why’ questions. Asking ‘why’ keeps you stuck in the spiral of self-loathing, but asking ‘what’ empowers you to learn something from a difficult situation. For example, “What is the meaning of this moment?” or “What can I learn from this?” is better than “Why did this happen?” Asking yourself “What do I know to be true” can be a powerful way to interrupt negative mental chatter. Mindfulness. Observe the negative voice in your thoughts without judgment, relating to them from curiosity instead. Ask yourself, “Whose voice is this?” It usually stems from something we were told in our childhood from a parent, teacher, coach, etc.

4. Pray. Getting into the Word and anchoring yourself in Scripture is a powerful disrupter. Remember God’s words in Hebrews 10:17 when you mess up: “I will never again remember their sins and lawless deeds.” If God can forgive and forget our mistakes, so can we.

5. Try writing. Dr Kristen Neff—an expert on self-compassion—says, “Everybody has something about themselves that they don’t like; something that causes them to feel shame, to feel insecure, or not ’good enough’.” Writing a letter to yourself from a place of acceptance and compassion can be a powerful tool.

Self-compassion is a form of forgiveness and an act of faith. It is a true act of generosity to yourself to embrace all parts of you, to learn from your failures so you can grow and actualize your full potential in every area of your life. When we can lean into God’s promises that all things work together for our good (Romans 8:28) it reminds us that the mistakes and failures along the way don’t mean that we are a mistake or failure. Rather, in God’s hands the mistakes we’ve made on the way can become the fertilizer for us to blossom into our highest and best.



Dionne Nicholls-Germain aka The Joy Coach is a professional Life & Leadership Coach. Inspired by her own personal story of reinvention, she founded Live Your Best Life for You, a personal development and speaking business dedicated to supporting busy female leaders who have a lot going on, still want more and healthy ways to balance it all. Dionne is also the author of The 90-Conquering Unforgiveness Journal for High-Performing High Achievers. Find @dionnenicholls on Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn.