1-2-3, I Love Me: Cultivating Self-Compassion and a Positive Self-Image
Maria Montessori observed that there is a “treasure” present in every human individual. “It is a miracle offered to all.”1
Ours is to uncover it... celebrate it... LET IT SHINE!
Self-compassion is an all-important quality to nurture in young children, and yet it is woefully underemphasized. It is often linked with self-esteem, however, the two couldn’t be more distinct. Somehow, we’ve been conditioned to see self-compassion as being selfish and/or narcissistic, yet according to Doc Childre, leading researcher at the Institute of HeartMath:
“To have self-compassion is... an act of intelligence, heart intelligence… self-compassion nurtures us with non-judgemental acceptance and a deeper understanding of our self… compassionate self-love is not ego infatuation; it’s an intelligent regenerative self-maintenance practice.”2
Children with self-compassion don’t have to feel “better than” in order to feel good about themselves. They also have a greater capacity for self-evaluation, because personal failings or “mistakes” can be acknowledged with kindness, as opposed to shame and self-blame. Most importantly, self compassion offers a powerful tool for self-soothing for it advocates counseling oneself as “your own best friend.” Research indicates that self-compassion leads to greater emotional resilience, more caring behavior, more accurate self-evaluation, less narcissism and less reactive anger 3… all of which are associated with a sound social-emotional framework!
Try making a daily practice of looking in the mirror and saying “I love you” to you. If that feels awkward or uncomfortable, try acknowledging a physical feature or a personal quality you appreciate about yourself. The topic of YOU should not be taboo!
This week’s Breadcrumbs Recommended SEL Reading List is dedicated to those books which help young children cultivate self-compassion and a positive self-image! (If one of your favorites is not on the list PLEASE, reach out to me and share, so that I may do the same!)
1. Bang, Molly (2009). All of Me, Scholastic, Inc. New York, NY.
“Thank you heart, for pumping life all through my body. Thank you my whole body.”
2. Carlson, Nancy (1988). I Like Me, Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers, New York, NY.
“I have a best friend. That best friend is me!”
3. Ewald, Wendy. (2002). The Best Part of Me, Little Brown and Company, New York, NY.
“I like my hair it’s long, black and wavy. If you look real close you can see red streaks.
It comes from my mexican heritage. It’s wavy like the ocean.”
4. Grover, Lori Ann (2019). I Love All of Me, Scholastic Inc., New York, NY.
“I love my arms that squeeze. I love my bendy knees.”
5. Parr, Todd. (2016). Be Who You Are, Little, Brown and Company, New York, NY.
“Always love yourself and Be Who You Are!”
6. Tillman, Nancy. (2011). The Crown on Your Head, Feiwel and Friends, New York, NY.
“... you are grand from your toes to your chin. Take a deep breath, and let that sink in.”
1. Montessori, Maria (1995). The Absorbent Mind, Henry Holt & Company, New York, NY, p. 292-293.
2. Childre, Doc (2016). Heart Intelligence, Waterfront Press, pp. 238-239.
3. Neff, Kristin, http://self-compassion.org/whatself-compassion-is-not-2/.