Self compassion and trauma healing intertwine. As we are well aware, trauma impacts people in myriad ways. Each person’s experience is unique but there are some common themes. For example, those who have endured traumatic events have extreme difficulty feeling safe. This is why so many trauma survivors choose to withdraw.
Still, such a coping mechanism does not prevent you from feeling shame. You know this is not the healthiest choice. Yet, you may still find yourself stuck in self-blame and wonder why you just can’t move on. Self-isolation is not the best environment for creating self-compassion. However, self-compassion may be precisely what you need. Again and again, it’s been found to help soothe and heal Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Self-Compassion Helps Trauma Survivors Heal
Think of a time when you felt care and concern for someone else. Connect with the intense but pleasant sense of compassion and connection. Now, imagine aiming that same level of care, concern, and love toward yourself. This is self-compassion in action. It becomes most apparent when you show patience and kindness to yourself even when you’ve made some mistakes or poor choices.
Long-term research has found that a practice of self-compassion leads directly to decreases in PTSD symptoms. Trauma can throw you off, compromising your judgment and perception. You lose confidence, your self-esteem deflates, and even your self-awareness declines. Self-compassion, on the other hand, reconnects you with these crucial needs. A self-compassionate person cuts themselves some slack — especially when they’ve been victimized.
Traumatic events are imposed upon us. Even so, these experiences can leave us filled with self-criticism. Our inner voice nags us and leaves us in a state of shame and blame. What you really need is compassion. And there’s no one better to deliver that compassion than yourself.
How to Foster the Self-Compassion You Need to Heal
This will serve as your day-to-day foundation. So much in life is out of your control but you can always do the right thing when it comes to self-care. Creating a healthy, doable regimen serves two purposes:
- It helps create a better version of you — mentally and physically
- It serves as a daily reminder that you are worthy of such focus, attention, and care
Generally speaking, your self-care routine should contain elements like:
- Employing stress management and relaxation techniques
- Getting to bed and waking up on a consistent schedule
- Making healthy nutritional choices
- Taking part in exercise and/or physical activity every single day
Defend Yourself From Your Inner Critic
Those negative thoughts about yourself are not statements of truth. They are far more likely to be internal “fake news.” Factcheck your inner critic intentionally and often by disconnecting from that stream of judgments. Practice mindfulness to stay rooted in the moment. Make time to validate your feelings and your accomplishments. Most importantly, accept the inevitable ups and downs of being human.
Be Compassionate to Others
Some clichés exist for a good reason. Helping others helps us in so many ways. In terms of trauma, this can be essential for those who have difficulty generating self-compassion. There is evidence that performing acts of kindness can:
- Contribute to your feelings of self-worth
- Enhance your mood
- Increase your self-compassion
Do You Need a Compassion Coach?
As you can probably tell by now, self-compassion is a crucial component of PTSD recovery. As you probably already know, it can be much easier said than done. We’re often all our own worst enemies when times are hard, toss in the shame that often accompanies trauma, and self-compassion can be hard to find.
This is why I encourage you to reach out today. Work past beliefs and self-perceptions that don’t serve you well. Let’s talk. Together, we can explore the many options available to you via trauma therapy. I have vast experience working with trauma survivors. As a team, we can work towards a place of deeper self-compassion, healing, and recovery along the way.