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Journaling prompts for developing self compassion

Each month I host a free 'Journaling for well-being' workshop. It's 30 minutes of support and inspiration for your journaling practice. We focus on two techniques:

1 - Wild writing, a free-style journaling method.

2 - Utilising guided prompts around a particular theme.

The theme for the session was 'developing self compassion'.

Self-compassion is the practice of treating yourself with kindness, understanding, and acceptance in moments of personal suffering, failure, or inadequacy. It involves extending the same compassion and empathy towards yourself that you would naturally offer to a friend.

Self-compassion is rooted in the idea that we are all imperfect and face challenges and setbacks throughout life. Instead of being self-critical or judgmental, self-compassion encourages us to acknowledge our own pain or mistakes with a sense of understanding, patience, and empathy.

Dr Kristin Neff (authority on self-compassion) identifies three core components of self-compassion:

  1. Self-kindness: This involves being gentle, understanding, and supportive towards yourself. It means responding to personal weaknesses with empathy and compassion rather than self-criticism.

  2. Common humanity: Recognising that experiencing suffering, failure, or inadequacy is a normal part of life. It involves understanding that we all go through challenging moments and that your struggles are not unique or isolated.

  3. Mindfulness: This is about being aware of and acknowledging your emotions and thoughts without judgment. Mindfulness allows you to observe your own suffering or negative experiences without getting consumed by them.

Practicing self-compassion has been shown to have numerous benefits for your well-being. It can reduce self-criticism, enhance self-esteem, foster resilience in the face of adversity, improve emotional regulation, and promote greater psychological and physical health.

Cultivating self-compassion involves developing a mindset of kindness and understanding towards yourself, and it can be cultivated through various techniques such as self-compassion meditations, journaling, self-care practices, and seeking support from others.

Try these journaling prompts below to begin to develop your self-compassion.

  • What does it mean to be self-compassionate?

  • When it comes to showing yourself compassion, what challenges do you face?

  • What did you learn about caring for oneself when you were younger?

  • How does this serve you now as an adult?

  • What would better serve you?

  • In one area of your life, describe an impossible standard are you holding yourself to?

  • How can you adjust this standard to make it more realistic (and kind)?

  • What words and self-talk can you begin to use to build yourself up?

  • What language will you try to stop using?

  • What is one statement you feel comfortable saying to yourself when you are struggling to be kind to yourself?

  • What one thing will you do just for you today?

Developing self-compassion is a practice. Dr Kristin Neff is a professor of psychology and author of Self Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself. Listen to her guided meditations to start your self-compassion journey.

If you find these prompts useful, why not come along to one of my free journaling workshops which take place monthly throughout the year - the details can be found here.

Alternatively, you can download my free journaling toolkit to get your started.

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