Where do we go from here? Self-Compassion in the New Year

By Leslie Bradley

Where do we go from here? Self-Compassion in the New Year

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A new year, a fresh start, an opportunity to refocus. January brings with it hope for things new, different, and better. But what happens when January is really just more of the same…or worse?!

There is no denying that 2021 has come in like a bull in a china shop. Things that we never thought possible happened, are happening, and may happen. Life feels unsettling. It might even be overwhelming. If you’re feeling this way, please hear that you are not alone. You. Are. Not. Alone. This is hard. It won’t always be this hard, but right now it is hard. Acknowledging that it’s hard is the first step in sharing the burden. It’s not a reflection of how “healthy” or “unhealthy” you are or how “good” you are at using your coping strategies. Acknowledging that this isn’t what you hoped for is perfectly human. It’s acknowledging your experience and honoring where you’re at – a critical component of self-compassion.

The infinitely wise Kristen Neff stated that self-compassion “involves the clear seeing of our own suffering, a caring response to our suffering that includes the desire to help, and recognition that suffering is part of the shared human condition.” Wow. Let’s sit with that for a moment. Imagine what your life would look like if you were as kind, nurturing, and encouraging of yourself as you likely are of others. 

It feels…warm. Safe. Loving. Gentle. Supportive.  

Practicing self-compassion has positive impacts for your health and well-being. Just a few of those benefits are: improved happiness, optimism, increased initiative, curiosity, and decreased stress. Self-compassion gives us a way to nurture ourselves and a soft place to land when life is going well AND when it isn’t turning out the way we wanted. For so many of us, 2020 and 2021 have been challenging. If you could use some warmth, love, and gentleness in your life, consider learning more about self-compassion by visiting https://self-compassion.org/.


Leslie Bradley

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