Show Yourself Compassion

Develop Wellness

Show Yourself Compassion

"Computers are magnificent tools for the realization of our dreams, but no machine can replace the human spark of spirit, compassion, love, and understanding." - Lou Gerstner, former CEO of IBM

Compassion is sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it. To have compassion, one must be aware that we are not machines, we are human and imperfect. You can be the definition of compassion by showing love and understanding to everyone you interact with, including yourself!

Self-compassion is about treating yourself with kindness. It is not always easy to have compassion for ourselves in the filtered, competitive culture we live in, but you can find it through mindfulness, self-kindness, and connectedness.


Mindfulness supports compassion by helping us to recognize when we are stressed or struggling without judgment. With practice, we become more aware of our emotional, mental, and physical experiences. We can observe our thoughts with openness and remain non-judgemental when we notice suffering. When we can do this for ourselves, we can extend that acceptance and understanding towards others.

Self-kindness is a compassionate practice of being supportive and understanding towards ourselves when we're having a hard time, rather than being harsh or self-critical. It is the practice of considering our needs with kindness. Again, when we can do this for ourselves, we can offer the same support to others.

Connectedness helps us to remember our common humanity. Everyone makes mistakes and experiences difficult times. We are never alone in our struggles and suffering is a normal part of being human.

Mindfulness, self-kindness, and connectedness are all practiced in a Loving-Kindness or Maitri meditation. Maitri is the Sanskrit word for deep friendship. Practicing this type of meditation develops acceptance and compassion for ourselves and others. Try this 5-minute version guided by me and let me know how you feel!

Dr. Kristin Neff is a pioneer in the field of self-compassion research. She has another version of the loving-kindness meditation and more self-compassion exercises on her website.

Another way to foster self-kindness is with the "How would you treat a friend?" exercise. Reflect on how you treat your loved ones in times of suffering. Consider how things might change if you responded to yourself in the same way. When you notice negative self-talk, ask yourself if you would speak to a friend like that.


I try to use a mantra when I am struggling such as “May I be kind to myself at this moment, may I give myself the compassion that I need.” or “This is a moment of suffering, everyone suffers.” Of course, mindful self-awareness practice is essential to be able to respond to our experiences this way.

With self-compassion, we can use caring force to change ourselves and our world. Compassion is not denying that some things may not be right but cultivating acceptance of all that is within ourselves and the world. Remember to take good care of yourself so that you can show up for others.


Compassionate Coding is an approach to software development that empowers individuals and companies by increasing emotional intelligence. When we put compassion and mindfulness first, we can create collaborative development environments that support developer wellness and deliver more socially conscious products.

How will you make self-compassion part of your wellness practice? Please share if you found this information helpful or comment with any questions. Thank you for reading!

The Develop Wellness articles are inspired by a series of wellness workshops that I facilitated with Women Who Code Boston. Check out our events for more!