Self compassion hidden in the messages

Durham College’s second floor L-wing women’s washroom filled with positive message Post-It notes.


There will always be something you want to change and sometimes you become so focused on your flaws that it ruins your ability to contribute to society.


Self-compassion is a technique that allows you to learn to love yourself and your flaws, and focus on a positive way to make changes to your life.


Self-compassion is treating yourself as you would treat your closest friend. It is a way of changing who you are without putting yourself down in the process.


“It is something we need to try to do a bit more, as opposed to waiting for others to show us compassion and waiting for them to step up and motivate us,” said Allison Hector-Alexander, diversity consultant at Durham College.


According to, self-compassion is made up of three elements including self-kindness, common humanity and mindfulness.


Self-kindness involves treating yourself in a kind and considerate way instead of beating yourself up about every mistake you make.


Common humanity is realizing that all humans suffer and that you are not isolated from the world when you are imperfect.


“Feelings of common humanity does not mean feeling like others have it ‘worse than you’, but rather simply that all humans feel inadequate at some point and therefore your feelings of inadequacy are shared and part of what it means to be human,” said Rebecca Martin, a second year Psychology master’s student at Trent University, Oshawa.


Mindfulness requires you to look at how you think and talk about yourself and editing it to become more of a positive message.


Martin believes that self-compassion helps you to avoid focusing on the negative and move you forward in your life.


“Undergraduate students who are more highly self-compassionate tend to procrastinate less, cope more effectively with academic stress and experience less depression, anxiety, burnout, and homesickness, have a greater overall well-being and social life satisfaction,” she says.


There are no negatives effects from self-compassion that have been found at this point, according to Martin.


There are negatives associated with self-esteem but not with self-compassion.


Self-esteem requires you to place a feeling of self-worth on what you are doing instead of who you are. It also fluctuates over time and often leads to self-indulgence.


“Self-indulgence means doing what feels good in the moment, even if it negatively impacts you in the future,” says Martin.


Self-compassion is a steady way of loving yourself that allows you to assess your issues without damaging yourself in the process.


It allows you to have a clear sense of your strengths and weaknesses in a positive way.


“Self-compassion does not always mean doing what feels good in the moment, but instead doing what is best for one’s overall physical and mental health and well-being,” said Martin.


People who follow self-compassion like to share it and it pops up in self-love movements that send positive messages to the general public.


“When you see a quote in a public place, most people read it and even though it may not mean something to one person, it can uplift the spirit of another who feels that their world is crumbling before their feet,” says Katie Coupland, a developmental service worker student at Durham College.


Recently at Durham College the second floor L-wing bathroom was covered in Post-It notes with affirmations and beautiful messages such as, ‘You’re beautiful.’

Durham College’s second floor L-wing women’s washroom filled with positive message Post-It notes.


These movements help people see the good in themselves and help them push forward through hard times in a positive way.


Some people find self-love movements annoying but it may be because they confuse the concept of the movement itself, according to Martin.


“I think that some people are afraid that if they allow themselves to be kind to themselves that they will lack motivation to get things done, and therefore feel that being overly tough on themselves is actually helpful for them,” she says.


Other people feel that the problem may lie in low self-worth that causes them not to believe in anything that reflects positives in their life.


“These people could have had a string of bad luck, an event happen that they are dealing with or even don’t believe in themselves,” says Coupland.


Hector-Alexander says instead of over-saturating one space, such as a public washroom, people should create positive movements throughout the community. Once and a while so that it can be enjoyed by everyone but not so much that people become annoyed.


Though the movements annoy some, a lot of people find them to be a great way to feel good about yourself.


“I don’t find self-compassion movements annoying at all. I think they are really inspiring. For the people like myself who find it hard to see the good sometimes in this hectic world, it’s a nice reminder of what we internally already know, that we are loved, beautiful and that we are worth it,” says Tiffany McDee, a second year paralegal student at Durham College.

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