Mental Health Exercise: A Letter of Self-Compassion

Hello there,

I would like to share with you an exercise to promote self-compassion. It is important to treat ourselves with care and concern when confronted by mistakes, failures and perceived shortcomings. In this exercise I would like you to choose an aspect of yourself that you dislike or criticize. It can be behavior, appearance, health, relationship or anything else that you struggle to accept about yourself. Feel free to do this exercise on your own or even in the comments section.

Step 1
Write down in detail about how the perceived inadequacy makes you feel. What memories, thoughts emotions or stories come up for you when you think about it?

Step 2
Next, imagine someone who is unconditionally loving, accepting and supportive. This person sees and knows all your perceived inadequacies. This person sees your strengths and opportunities for growth. This person accepts, forgives and loves you just as you are.

Step 3
Now, write a letter to yourself from the perspective of this accepting and loving person. What does this person say to you? How do they encourage and support you in taking steps to change? Let the words flow and don’t worry about grammar or spelling. Just write!

Step 4
After writing this letter, put it aside for 15 minutes. Return to the letter and re-read it. Let the words sink in and feel the encouragement, support, compassion and acceptance. Review this letter whenever you are feeling down about this perceived flaw. Remember acceptance is the first step to change. (Make sure to save a copy for yourself if you write it in the comments section)

Best wishes,
Specializing in a solution focused and results driven approach to psychotherapy


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39 responses to Mental Health Exercise: A Letter of Self-Compassion

  1. miss_ananya says:

    That’s a great idea. I would definitely try it out. I love the fact that it is you yourself who is going to make you feel better and no one else! 😇

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I just realized this is an exercise I do regularly in my journal! Whenever I feel any inadequacy about myself or I have done something I am not able to forgive myself for, I think about it and i write a diary entry giving myself compassionate instructions referring to myself as ‘You’. And yes! whenever that thought again comes in my head, i open it and reread it. Thanks for this post!
    We easily forgive others with so much love and understanding but fail to do so for ourselves.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. boomergirl47 says:

    My therapist had me write a “love” letter to myself many years ago. No holds barred. Straight from the heart, total honesty. It was very liberating. I saved it and read it every now and then. Learning how to love yourself unconditionally is pure gold.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. This is such a great exercise! As Kirti also said, I do this in my journal. I also think about the people who have been there to see and remind me of my potential and accomplishments when I lost the ability to do so myself. I do review my journal, too, but to actually write a letter like this is a wonderful idea. While I studied, I had these notes on the wall in the kitchen, where I had my morning coffee, and in the foyer for me to look at before I left the apartment and for when I came home. Reminders to cut myself slack, to be grateful, to give myself credit for things I actually do but lose sight of. Because I knew I so easily reverted to internal self-abuse. It gets better, but the longer you’ve been at it–constantly berating yourself and seeing only the bad–the longer it takes to change it. So compassion and understanding for and about oneself is so important. Thank you for sharing this!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. David Swan says:

    This is great as I have a habit of beating myself up. A few things I have tried have not worked out and I call it failure but just slowly accepting the changes around me and being less harsh.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Andrei says:

    Very true Eric – acceptance is the first step to change. Most people, myself included, can be so hard on themselves, especially when they commit mistakes.
    Just as we need compassion from other people, we likewise need it from our own selves and for our growth and wellbeing.
    Awesome piece of advice Eric!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Nicolle says:

    I agree! I’ve been adding the short version of these self-compassionate letters at the end of each of my blog posts. While most of them are pretty short (like “It’s great that you’re doing this!”), after 3 months I feel like I’m more accepting of myself. I think I’m finally picking up that I’m my best advocate. 😃

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Time to be Fearless says:

    You know, I needed to read this today. It’s amazing how the words and the idea it brought to mind gave me the nudge that I needed to get all of my internal cylinders firing correctly again. (The universe always seems to work that way.) We are so hard on ourselves and spend far too much time conjuring up stuff to be worried about, and new inadequacies to feel bad about. Thank You! I too have a journal, and will go through this exercise.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. mindelate says:

    We are taught compassion all our lives. Yet self compassion is hardly ever discussed. Yet it’s so vital for our wellbeing. Thank you for this post! I’ll definately try this exercise and observe how I feel after 👏🏻

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Oh Eric!! I love this. ❤ So important to see ourselves – and others – through the eyes of compassion. Funny, tomorrow I'm doing an online intro "The Soothing Voice of Forgiveness", and that is a key topic (self-loving, acceptance, and compassion). You are great.

    So many blessings to you and to all your followers, Eric,

    Liked by 1 person

  11. wairegil says:

    I like that these letters are done on a personal level, it’s up to you to cheer yourself up… It’s easy to forget the inner light that our loved ones see within us

    Liked by 1 person

  12. letsworkonit says:

    We often spend so much of our time putting ourselves down instead of building ourselves up so this is a great way to practice compassion and self-love. -MP

    Liked by 1 person

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