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« 17. Developing compassion for yourself: Tips 6-10 »

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

This is the second article in a two-part series on developing compassion. Emotional intelligence concerns itself with all emotions, including compassion. Being able to feel compassion for yourself and others is all part of being emotionally intelligent.

Wash away the dirt and negativity in your mindSome people have self-hate. Others are very self-critical. Others don't feel worthy, are worried people will find out that they are a fake, or they do not feel as if they are good enough.

Why does this matter?

Because they become anxious, irritable and overworked. This is not emotionally intelligent or healthy.

Also, 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.

Being emotionally intelligent can mean that you can do all this without becoming selfish, ineffective or a push-over.

Emotional intelligence tip 6: Clear out your mind dirt

Compassion does not grow in a negative mind-set. So often people have negative thoughts, nasty remarks and mean judgements going on inside their heads. This is what I call "mind dirt". Get rid of it. Don't believe it. Challenge your thinking. It is not emotionally intelligent or helpful.

Every time you hear yourself say, "I don't deserve this", ask yourself

"Who says I don't?"
"What right do they have to say that?"
"Where's the evidence?"

Speak fighting talk: "Oh yeah! – that's what you think mind, I'll show you. I'm going to do it anyway."

Clear out your mind dirt – stop letting it destroy your compassion and kindness to yourself.

By the way, just because you think it doesn't mean it's true. Our minds create lies. Part of having emotional intelligence is being able to differentiate between the truth and the lies.

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Emotional intelligence tip 7: We are all equal

Do not decide that another person is higher or better than, or superior to you. They may hold a "high" position; they may have more wisdom; they may be richer – but they still all need to eat, sleep and go to the toilet just as you do. We are all okay.

We are different but we are all equal. Remind yourself of this when you hold back, and instead behave as an equal does.

Use your emotional intelligence with everyone you meet, so when you meet them you have compassion for yourself and compassion for them.

Emotional intelligence tip 8: Deal with your self-hate

Emotional intelligence covers all emotions including self-hate. Self hate can have its origins in childhood. You may have learnt to feel like this because of things that were said or done to you, or not said or done to you, as a child.

This may now be retained in your muscles, your psyche, your memory, your movement patterns, your subconscious, your nerve endings – wherever such habits and memories are stored.

To rid yourself of the self-hate, you may therefore need someone to help you release it. I have released a lot of my early childhood negative messages through a body-work method called "The Feldenkrais Method".

Others have been helped by EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), SET (Simple Energy Technique), NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), breath work, art therapy, aura-soma colour therapy, and related methods; others by the different forms of psychotherapy available.

What matters is not what technique you use, but that you get the best help, i.e. the help that helps you the most. That's emotionally intelligent. Yes, getting help with your emotions can help you gain even higher levels of emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence tip 9: Meditate regularly

Meditation can be an invaluable way to retrain your mind, to calm it down, and to help you find a more positive way of reacting to yourself. I've found it to be superb in helping me to manage my negativity and emotions, and to increase the sense of loving-kindness, goodwill and compassion I have for myself.

There is a particular meditation called "Loving-kindness meditation" that you can use to help develop kindness and compassion to yourself and others. The script is on our website and you can hear it on the "Happy not hassled" CDs.

I have dramatically increased my sense of compassion, contentment and wellbeing since regularly using this meditation. It has helped me in developing my emotional intelligence too.

There is also a meditation called "Karuna meditation" specifically on compassion that you may find helpful.

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Emotional intelligence tip 10: Hug yourself

We all need affection, physical contact and a loving touch. Emotional intelligence includes the ability to express feelings of appreciation, love and gratitude. It focuses on both "positive' and "negative" emotions.

This expression of your feeling is not just towards others but also towards yourself.

I have developed the ability to give myself a loving hug when I need one and no one else is around to give me one. I have also developed the ability to ask for one when I need one. This is practical emotional intelligence and compassion in action!

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.