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« 16. Developing compassion for yourself: Tips 1-5 »

Written by Rachel Green. Director, The Emotional Intelligence Institute. Author of "How to develop emotional resilience and manage your emotions".

Emotional intelligence concerns itself with all emotions, including compassion. Being able to feel compassion for yourself and others, when applied wisely, is all part of being emotionally intelligent.

Give yourself a reward for a job well doneSome people have self-hate. Others are very self-critical. Many have unrealistic expectations of themselves and expect perfection. Why does this matter?

Because they become miserable, stressed and overworked. This is not emotionally intelligent.

Because when you are self-critical you are also likely to be negative towards others, hard on others and judgemental towards others' problems, errors and behaviour. This makes no one happy.

Yet it is possible to develop your emotional intelligence and to like yourself, to have compassion towards yourself and to be kind to yourself.

Using your emotional intelligence can mean that you can do all this without becoming selfish, ineffective or a push-over.

Of course knowing all the theory about self-compassion is only part of the story. Applying the tips on a daily basis to yourself is what will really make the difference to your emotional intelligence in this area. 

This article is the first in a two-part series on developing compassion.

This one includes five emotional intelligence tips on how to develop compassion for yourself: Tips 1-5.

The second article includes five extra emotional intelligence tips on how to develop even more compassion for yourself: Tips 6-10.

Are you willing to work on this aspect of your emotional intelligence?

Emotional intelligence tip 1: Keep a daily journal of your success

At the end of each day write down all the good things you've done. It can be as little as smiling at a colleague, picking up a piece of litter in the street, or opening the door for someone at work. The size is irrelevant.

Keep adding to this list so that each day you focus your mind on the good things you do. At the end of each week read your list. It is all part of developing your emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence tip 2: Promise yourself a reward for tasks

Set yourself tasks to complete, jobs to do, or activities to finish. And write down an agreement with yourself as to the reward you'll get when you've done this.

The reward can vary with the size of the task, so it might be a piece of dark chocolate for finding a research paper, a meal at a restaurant for finishing a larger project, a day at the football for something major. Choose whatever is a good reward for you.

Then do the task and give yourself the reward, and enjoy it. It is all part of developing your emotional intelligence and emotional resilience, and fostering positive emotions.

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Emotional intelligence tip 3: Remind yourself that others benefit

Remind yourself that others benefit when you are compassionate towards yourself and take care of yourself.

It is important that you be kind to yourself, because when you care for yourself you are then much more able to care for others.

Be compassionate towards yourself, treat yourself well, look after yourself - so that you can also help care for your employees, your stakeholders, your customers, your clients, your team members, your suppliers, family, children, parents, friends, neighbours, and anyone with whom you come into contact.

For example, all your team will benefit far more from your being their manager if you are kind towards yourself and them, as well as being competent, rather than your being mean or critical or off work sick and thus increasing their workload.

The same is true at home. A happy, healthy relaxed mum or dad is a much nicer, better mum or dad than a strung out, unhealthy, tense one. If you don't believe me, ask the children. Care for yourself so you may care for others. It is all part of using your emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence tip 4: Set aside time for yourself each day

Compassion towards yourself can be trained as a habit.

For example, each day, get into the habit of reviewing your day. As you go through it, decide at what point you'll take a break and relax. Will it be a time before going to work, a lunch break, an evening bath, a visit to the local yoga group, or what?

Each day, decide in advance when you'll rest and relax. Everyone needs rest and relaxation. All sensible people rest and relax. It's a basic human need. If you don't rest and relax how can you be happy? Plan your rests in advance.

I was always interested in a comment that Cadell Evans made before he won the Tour De France. He was asked if his preparation had been good enough, to which he replied,"Yes, I have had the perfect balance between rest and training". 

If it is good enough for him it is good enough for us.

Developing and having compassion for ourselves is all part of developing our emotional intelligence and emotional resilience. How much compassion and emotional intelligence do you have?

Emotional intelligence tip 5: Ask for help

You do not have to journey through this life on your own. Helping yourself by asking for help is a way of showing compassion for yourself and a good way of using your emotional intelligence.

Do not stand and moan that no-one is helping you if you haven't asked. Do not think that the job has been given to you therefore you must do it on your own. Do not worry that people will think bad of you because you want help. If, by asking for help, your load will be easier, have the compassion to ask.

By asking for help:

  • You may move more quickly through a task you have been given or have set yourself. 
  • You may spare yourself the awkwardness of making mistakes.
  • You may develop better relationships with your colleagues.
  • You may learn new ideas, information and skills.
  • You may remove the tension and agony in what you are doing.
  • You may free up your time to do more rewarding activities.
  • You may be more productive and happier.

By being able to ask for help you are showing compassion for yourself, and not making yourself struggle on your own. This is a good use of your emotional intelligence because it well help you stay positive.

People with high levels of emotional intelligence on the fifth emotional intelligence competency: "Emotional self-management" would typically be able to develop or exhibit compassion towards themselves.

Compassion can also help you develop emotional resilience.

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Want more help in developing compassion for yourself?

Managing to overcome self-hate and self-doubt can take time. By just spending a few minutes each day relaxing and practising compassion and kindness towards yourself you can gently ease yourself into a better life.

How high is your emotional intelligence & emotional resilience?

There is so much that you can do to develop your emotional resilience and the E.I. Institute has a number of options to help you:

Worried that you don't have enough emotional resilience and that you need to develop your emotional intelligence more? Our unique, practical, 5-star emotional intelligence coaching package is available for you and includes the opportunity to have your emotional intelligence assessed. Boost your resilience now. Find out more here.