How to Embrace Self-Compassion and Heal Better
What is the role of self-compassion in well- being as people age? I am intrigued by this question because there’s now growing evidence that seniors who are high in self- compassion will think of stressful events such as back injury in a way that will predict faster recovery. In short, they have learned how to embrace self- compassion and heal better.
To fully illustrate what I’m talking about I will examine ambivalence that some elderly persons feel about aiding the healing process of their own back pain. I will explore why a senior with low self- compassion may be resistant to being proactive in their own recovery while a senior with high self- compassion would gladly embrace it.
Before we jump in, let’s first describe what we mean by self- compassion. Self-compassion involves treating oneself compassionately—with caring, concern, and kindness—when problems arise in life, much like people treat loved ones who experience difficulties. 
Feel For Yourself What You Feel For Others and Heal Better
Kristen Neff, a well respected authority in the field of educational psychology, points out that “In the West, compassion is usually conceptualized in terms of compassion for others, but in Buddhist psychology, it is believed that it is as essential to feel compassion for oneself as it is for others.
The definition of self-compassion, moreover, is not distinguished from the more general definition of ‘’compassion.’’
Understanding The Meaning of Your Own Suffering so You Can Heal Better
Thus, she defines self-compassion as “being open to and moved by one’s own suffering, experiencing feelings of caring and kindness toward oneself, taking an understanding, nonjudgmental attitude toward one’s inadequacies and failures, and recognizing that one’s experience is part of the common human experience” 
Learning to Let Go of Negative Emotions in Order to Heal Better
This is important because researchers in aging have noted that many older people become self-critical and angry, castigating themselves, and bemoaning their inability to function as they once did.
The good News About Learning to Heal
Studies have come out and found that older people who were higher in self-compassion were more willing to ask people to repeat themselves when they could not hear what they said, and among people who had difficulty walking, those who were higher in self-compassion were more willing to use a walker. 
The Bottom Line
People who are high in self-compassion are more accepting of their physical limitations and more willing to take steps to maintain their well-being.
This means that they are more willing to embrace any medical or non-medical therapy that will help them become more pain free.
Perceiving The Power to Heal Your Self Better
This brings us to our the issue we hinted at in the beginning of the post: how older persons perceive the power they have or not have in terms of achieving recovery from an injury or condition such as back pain.
We can now address how high and low self-compassion elderly make decisions about whether the’ll be compliant when using interventions, such as balancing therapies and exercises, to speed up recovery or just give up in despair.
The Vital Elements of Self-Compassion
The 3 elements of Self-compassion That Will Make You Heal better
- Extending kindness and understanding to oneself rather than harsh self-criticism and judgement.
- Seeing one’s experience as part of the larger human experience rather than as separating and isolating
- Holding one’s painful thoughts and feelings in balanced awareness rather than over-identifying with them. 
What Self-compassion is Not
Before we go on, you should be clear about something: self-compassion is not based on performance or evaluating how good you are at reaching an ideal goal such as making more money, becoming smarter, or becoming more liked. In short, it has nothing to do with narcissism or self-centeredness. It’s just a way to learn to heal yourself by extending to yourself the same kind of understanding and support that you give to others.
The Implications of Using Self-Compassion to Heal Better
Here are The Implications Using Self-Compassion to Heal Better
Once you stop beating yourself up with negative emotions you’ll allow room for positive emotions to take over. Thus instead of thinking “I seem to have bigger problems than most people do” and “Why do these things always happen to me?” You’re more likely to think something like “This isn’t any worse than what lots of other people go through.” 
Learning to Get Rid of Toxic Thoughts so You Can Heal Better
This allows you to experience a mindfulness that detaches you from self-judgement, and most likely all the toxicity that goes with it. For example it’s a known fact that stress hormones secreted when a person is upset take hours to become reabsorbed in the body and fade away.
Connected to The Human Family
When you have high self-compassion you’re less likely to live in isolation because you understand that you’re not the only one suffering from a condition like chronic back pain. You’re more likely to reach out to others and that will give you the emotional support that you need to boost your healing.
Avoiding Catastraophizing Your Condition so You Can Heal Better
The term catastrophizing is the process in which anxious people with a health condition dwell on the most extreme negative consequence conceivable. The bottom line is that pain is treated as being extremely threatening. Thus, for example, a person who has fallen won’t venture out of the house out of fear that they’ll fall again and experience pain. A person with high self-compassion is less likely to have catastrophizing thoughts.
When thinking about self-compassion one may be tempted to think this is just another way of taking about self-esteem. Those were my initial thoughts, but I was wrong. Self-compassion is not judgmental. This means just it can not produce a narcissistic individual by exaggerating one’s sense of importance, it can not also build one’s ego by some type of emotional pep talk. Self-compassion is purely about extending compassion to yourself.
A logical question than is whether self-compassion downplays or ignored negative facts about a stressful condition such as back pain. No, it just treats those facts in a compassionate way.
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The Gerontologist, Volume 54, Issue 2, 1 April 2014, Pages 190–200
Neff K. D. (2003a). The development and validation of a scale to measure self-compassion. Self and Identity , 2, 223–250. doi:10.1080/ 15298860309027
Mirowsky J. Ross C. E . (1992). Age and depression. Journal of Health and Social Behavior , 33, 187–205.
Allen A. B. Goldwasser E. R. Leary M. R . (2012). Self-compassion and well-being in older adults. Self and Identity , 11, 428–453.
Leary M. R. Tate E. B. Adams C. E. Batts Allen A. Hancock J . (2007). Self-compassion and reactions to unpleasant self-relevant events: The implications of treating oneself kindly. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , 92, 887–904.