When you think of green flags, you immediately associate them with relationships, and what to look for in a partner. But there are also certain green flags that you should look for in yourself, things you do and conscious decisions you make for yourself, and this is called self-compassion.
Self-compassion is something that comes naturally to some people, but for some, it is very difficult to practice. Not everyone grows up in an accepting environment, and these situations often reflect on our personalities as we grow older. Until recently, I always thought self-compassion was the same as self-confidence or self-esteem, but it isn’t. So what exactly is self-compassion? To explain it simply, think of it this way: how would you treat a friend if they made a mistake and were being hard on themselves? Ideally, you’d be kind, encouraging and understanding. That’s exactly what self-compassion looks like, but you practice this behaviour with yourself. It may seem easy in theory; technically, all you have to do is be nice to yourself. It’s much harder (for some people) than you may think though. Usually, our first reaction when we mess up or do something wrong is to think negatively of ourselves. Thoughts about how you could’ve done it differently or how you shouldn’t have done what you did are normal, and that’s the problem. Being understanding toward yourself is a big component of self-compassion, and there are a lot of ways to practice it.
One of the biggest problems for people who don’t practice self-compassion is blaming themselves almost always, even when it may not even be their fault. A green flag, in this case, would be to hold people accountable for their actions, and not let them get away with it just because you may be afraid of confrontation. It’s important to not let people cross your boundaries because if you don’t do that, it shows that you don’t respect yourself as an individual.
Self-compassion can also be shown by tackling anxious thoughts. For example, if you choose to speak up despite having a fear of rejection, that’s self-compassion. Letting yourself be vulnerable is a big step towards it. It’s about choosing what’s better for you instead of what is more comfortable. These may sound like huge commitments, that take time to be put into action, but there are also small things that you can do to show yourself some love. Things like keeping promises that you made to yourself. Did you promise yourself you’d wake up at 6 every morning and work out? Stick to that promise. Make it happen, because that’s how you show yourself that you matter. Learning from unhealthy patterns that were a part of your routine in the past and improving your lifestyle is another way to practice self-compassion.
It is also very important to let yourself feel your feelings without any thoughts of judgment. It’s a green flag when you treat other people with kindness, but it’s also a green flag to treat yourself with kindness. Being self-aware, practising self-acceptance and self-validation is all part of the process. After all, isn’t that what they all say? To love yourself before you love someone else, and that right there is self-compassion.