Character Chats

How do we show compassion for ourselves?

Here at True Balance Karate, our social emotional learning program is called True Character, and our true character word of the month is compassion.

Compassion means that when you feel bad, sad, or mad, I want to help you to feel better.

In the previous weeks, we talked about when we show compassion we first have to have empathy. We can read people’s facial expressions and their body language. Then we show compassion.

We talked about showing compassion for someone who is scared or in need of help. We talked about how we show compassion for our animals and our environment.

Now, we’re going to talk about showing compassion for ourselves.

Show compassion to others… and yourself

One thing I’ve noticed with our students is we tend to have a lot of really nice people. Our students tend to be really good at showing compassion for each other.

If one student is struggling on a skill and happens to say out loud, “I can’t do it,” there’s always a student near them that’ll say, “You can do it. I believe in you. Of course, you can. Let’s try it again.”

If one student is starting to look sad, there’s always another student that will come up to them, give them a hug, put their arm around them, or distantly give them a thumbs up, ask them if they’re okay. Our people in our studio really are excellent at showing compassion for each other.

Sometimes, though, what we need to work on is showing compassion for ourselves.

Let’s walk through that…

How to show compassion for yourself

If you’re sick and not feeling well, how do you show compassion for yourself? You take care of yourself.

You get the right sleep. You get the right foods. If you have to take a day off of school or work in order to get better, you show that compassion for yourself and do that.

You mention to people, “Hey, I’m not feeling well. I can’t do this today.” That’s how you show compassion for yourself.

Remember, compassion is empathy plus action. In order to really show compassion, you need to take some actions for that.

How would you show compassion to somebody who has someone being mean to them, saying bad things. You’d let them know. “No, that’s not true. You’re a good person. I believe in you.”

So, how can we show compassion to ourselves? Should we ever be mean to ourselves? Should we ever tell ourselves, “I can’t do it. I’ll never get there”? Should we ever knock ourselves down?

No, we need to show compassion to ourselves.

Hey, we’re not going to get things the first time. It happens. The same thing you would tell your friend, you want to tell yourself.

“You can do it. You can get there. I believe in you.”

“I know I can do it. I’m going to try again. I’m going to try harder right now.”

How to deal with failures

Now, what if we are having trouble with a goal?

Well, how would you show compassion and goal setting for somebody else? You would help build them up, help them believe in themselves, help them stick to their goals.

We want to do the same thing with ourselves. When we set our goals, we want to show some compassion to ourselves and understand that it’s going to take time. You’re not going to get it every time, but hold ourselves to it to not give up on those goals.

What about if we make a mistake?

When you make a mistake, how do we show compassion to yourself? Does that mean we automatically stink, and we should never do it again? Of course not. 

The word “FAIL” means First Attempt In Learning.

We want to show that compassion to ourselves and understand, hey, we’re going to make mistakes. If we’re training to learn and get better at something, of course, I’m going to mess up. Of course, I make mistakes. Of course, I’m not going to get it the first time.

I need to show that compassion to myself, tell myself it’s okay. It’s just First Attempt In Learning, and I’ll get it next time.

So, make sure all that same compassion you’d show to everybody else — that you’d show your pets, your animals, somebody feeling sad or mad, and somebody in need — you show to yourself just as well.

Look yourself in the mirror. Talk to yourself like you would talk to somebody else.

Thanks, and we’ll see everybody on the mat.
–Master Helsdon