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  • Writer's pictureErin Johnson

Self-Compassion: The Missing Component

Updated: Nov 4, 2022

We often think of compassion as something we extend to others, but the foundation of true compassion lies in understanding and accepting our own feelings and needs. Only when we are in touch with our own inner world can we turn outward with genuine care and concern for others.



The practice of asking ourselves four simple questions can help us develop a deeper level of self-awareness and move us closer to our natural state of compassion. By turning inward and exploring our feelings and needs, we create the space to reach out to others with greater understanding, empathy, and connection.


The Four Questions:

1. "When I (see, hear, or notice) _______________,"

2. "I feel _______________"

3. "...because I need (what is important to me/ what I value) _______________."

4. "Am I willing to _______________?"


Let's break down each question and explore how it can help us connect to our compassionate nature...


Question 1: "When I (see, hear, or notice) _______________,"

This question helps us identify the trigger for our emotions. When we can see, hear, or notice what has triggered our feelings, we can begin to understand why we are feeling the way we do. This understanding is the first step in developing compassion for ourselves.


Question 2: "I feel _______________"

The second question allows us to name our emotions without judgement. It is important that we allow ourselves to fully feel our emotions without trying to push them away or numb them with food, drink, drugs, shopping, etc. Naming our emotions gives us a sense of control over them and helps us move through them more easily.


Question 3: "...because I need (what is important to me/ what I value) _______________." This question gets to the root of our needs by linking them directly to our values. Once we have identified what we need, we can begin to take steps toward getting those needs met in a healthy way. Honoring our needs helps us feel good about ourselves and increases self-compassion.


Question 4: "Am I willing to _______________?" The fourth question is perhaps the most important because it gives us the power to choose how we want to respond to our feelings and needs. Just because we feel something doesn't mean that we have to act on it in an unhealthy way. Asking ourselves if we are willing to do something helps us gain clarity on what is truly important to us and how best to proceed going forward.


Self-compassion is the key ingredient missing from most people's lives today. We are so focused on taking care of others that we often forget to take care of ourselves. But if we want to be there for others in a meaningful way, it all starts with taking care of ourselves first. By turning inward and exploring our feelings and needs, we create the space necessary for true compassion—both for ourselves and for others—to arise naturally. Try asking yourself the four questions above the next time you find yourself feeling triggered or overwhelmed. See what happens...you might just be surprised at how much lighter you feel afterward!





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