I have been thinking a lot about empathy the past few days. Brene Brown, a notable author and researcher on shame, talks about how empathy is the antidote to shame, one of the most dangerous and self-destructive forces in how we see ourselves.
Empathy is critical in my work with my clients, so I try very hard to teach my clients about what empathy is, not only by giving it to them, but in modeling it and teaching clients how to give it to themselves. Showing empathy or self-compassion is so important in a person being able to heal from injuries created by trauma and pain from our past, often resulting in emotional wounds, negative core beliefs and shame.
I believe most of us would agree that we are our own worst enemies, as we perpetuate a negative belief system rooted in our past life experiences. We may tell ourselves that we are unworthy of love, acceptance and belonging. However, if we can learn to be kinder in how we think about ourselves, and try to think more positively, it can create a different mindset with empathy and compassion, like we would give a friend.
Here is a great article from the Huffington Post that emphasizes the importance of self-compassion and the benefits that come from implementing it in your life. Enjoy!