By Katherine Ryan on October 17, 2014


compassion large

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.

~ Dalai Lama

Compassion for Self,

3 Tips

In my practice in Topsfield I encourage my clients to have compassion for self.  “How”, I ask, “can one have compassion for others if we do not have it for ourselves?”  This weekend I had the opportunity to practice compassion for self, for myself, and it was a little difficult.

Like many of you I had a “To-Do” for this past weekend that was a mile long.  It looked something like this:

  • Entertain Friday night
  • Work Saturday
  • Pay Harmony bills
  • Pay personal bills
  • Run 6 miles Sunday AM
  • Clean, really clean, the house
  • Groom Nina (the therapy dog, puppy)
  • Groom Zorro (the Greyound)
  • Trim Maya’s toes (the cat)
  • Box up house wares for donation
  • Switch out spring and summer clothes for fall and winter clothes
  • Box up clothes for donation
  • Put away kayaking gear
  • Make soup
  • Make lunches for the coming week

My weekend was only two days as now see clients on Saturdays.  Looking at the list I can now see that it was ambitious and a little light on fun.  This is how the weekend panned out:

  • Entertained Friday night (grew a friendship)
  • Worked Saturday
  • Packed the briefcase with work to bring home
  • Read the recent edition of Utne Magazine
  • Took the dogs for a long walk Sunday AM
  • Went to Crane Beach with Nina and a friend and went for another long walk (Nina socialized and ran a round off leash)
  • Went to lunch with the same friend (grew a friendship)
  • Took a two hour nap
  • Began reading “Proof of Heaven”
  • On Monday I met a friend for coffee and we decided to do the Open Studio Tour of Cape Ann.  We also visited the Common Crow in Gloucester and I stocked up on healthy food.
  • Made soup
  • Made lunches for the week

Out of the original list, 15 items, I completed 4.  I am leaving myself wide open for my inner critic to yell at me.  By practicing compassion for self I am able to say, “Hey, I had fun!  The house will be there to clean another time, dogs and cat can be groomed another time.  I did what absolutely needed to get done and I took a chunk of time for myself and for connecting with friends which matches my values more than a clean house.”

By no means am I saying self-compassion is easy.  If you are having a difficult time with it here are 3 Tips for practicing self-compassion.


Tip #1 for Compassion for Self

What would I say if I were my best friend?  (Let’s strive to be our own best friend)


Tip #2 for Compassion for Self

Remind yourself that you are perfect in your imperfectness, as we all are


Tip #3 for Compassion for Self

Develop a few self-compassionate phrases or questions that you can repeat to yourself.  Examples are, “What do I need in this moment?”  “How can I show myself kindness?”


I hope you found these tips helpful in becoming more self-compassionate.  If you would like to learn more about compassion call a local mental health professional and of course you can always call Harmony Counseling in Topsfield MA, 978-561-1927 to arrange an appointment.

katherine~Katherine Ryan is a LMHC (Licensed Mental Health Counselor) practicing in Topsfield, Massachusetts where she enjoys helping adults, children and teens become unstuck.



239 Boston Street, Topsfield, MA 01983