Oftentimes we are good at being compassionate towards others. We try to support those in need, care for the sick, and tend to the needs of our family and friends. Compassion is a trait that we, as social beings, use to connect and build relationships with others. But what about your relationship with yourself? How do you tend to your own needs and your own well-being?
We can get so wrapped up in “fixing” other people’s problems, or putting their needs before our own, that sometimes we forget to care for ourselves. You must care for yourself in order to provide the best care for someone else. You deserve a healthy dose of self-compassion.
So, treat yo self! My good friends Donna (Retta Sirleaf) and Tom (Aziz Ansari), from the TV series Parks and Recreation, explain this concept best in this short clip: Treat Yo Self! (<– seriously, click on the link to watch this 20 second clip so the rest of the article makes more sense!)
In this comedy episode treat yo self means splurging on material items and pampering yourself. While buying expensive handbags and luxurious spa days aren’t always practical, the main premise behind the “treat yo self” concept is quite practical–and critically important to our mental health. Treat yo self means showing your mind and body the TLC it needs and deserves.
Treat yo self by having self-compassion. Self-compassion is the practice of being compassionate to yourself when you feel like you have failed, or struggled, or feel inadequate. These perceptions of suffering can be combatted when you understand that your self-worth and self-compassion are unconditional.
So you don’t have your dream job, drive a brand new car, or the latest generation iPhone? Be humble. Appreciate the possessions that you do have. Recognize that there are others less fortunate. Treat yo self to the understanding that we are not defined by our material objects. Take time to reflect on what you are grateful for. Be compassionate to yourself by showing gratitude and appreciation for the positive aspects of your life.
Don’t criticize yourself for “not having it all”. Take this opportunity to practice self-compassion by changing that inner dialogue to “not having it all yet”. Treat yo self with time to grow, improve, and repair. “I can’t do this…yet.” “This isn’t working…yet.” “I am not good at this…yet.” Prove yourself wrong. Step up to the challenge and develop new solutions to your identified problems.
When you feel like you aren’t living up to the expectations or you’ve made a few mistakes, take the advice you would give someone else in your situation. What do you tell the child who strikes out at bat? Keep your eye on the ball and try again. Rarely do we get things right on the first try, without any practice. Treat yo self with opportunities to try again. How do you console a friend going through relationship troubles? A gentle hug and reminders of your support. Treat yo self to a hug when you need to be comforted.
Be gentle with yourself. You are not alone in your struggles. Sometimes we may feel isolated, like no one understands what we’re going through. However, chances are that at least one of the billions of other people in this world have felt similar pain or sorrow. There is great comfort in knowing that we are not the only one suffering. Treat yo self to the support of others.
Make yourself and your needs a priority. You’re tired from sleepless nights, tossing and turning, full of worry and anxiety. Treat yo self to a nap! You’ve worked long hours at the office to meet that deadline. Treat yo self to a day off. Personal days are real people–use them! You’re sweaty from cleaning the house, the baby spit up, and the dog planted his muddy paws on your new pants. Do us all a favor and treat yo self to a hot shower or bath!
Whatever it is that you makes you feel rejuvenated, relaxed, and reenergized—do it! You deserve to treat yo self, simply because we all need to take the time to care for ourselves. We are not perfect. Everyone makes mistakes. We all can benefit from practicing self-compassion.
How good are you at treating yourself by being self-compassionate? Take this test on self-compassion here: Self-Compassion Test and see how well you care for yourself. If your score is lower than you expected or lower than you would like, try some of these treat yo self suggestions.
If you’d like to learn more about self-compassion, caring for yourself, and improving your overall well-being, treat yo self to a session with me!