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Refill your tank: 3 ways cultivate self-compassion on hard days

You’re always messing things up.  You’ll never get things right.  You never seem to say the right thing.  You are ugly.  You don’t belong to be here.

Most of us would never say these phrases to someone, but how often have these ugly words replayed in your mind or even come out your mouth about yourself?

Sadly, I will admit I have been there.

Even as a child, I held high (often unrealistic) expectations of who I should be and what I should accomplish. Sadly, I only carried my lack of self-compassion into my role as a wife and mother.

Oh, yes. On my overwhelming days, the things I would say to myself I would never say to a friend.

My ugly, critical words were chains keeping me bound to negativity and fear. This was NOT the life Christ promised. Negativity was only a thief stealing my joy and killing any hope of living abundantly in the life God promised.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.” (John 10:10).

Developing compassion for ourselves is not so simple when we try to do it in our strength. Instead, we need the aid of the Holy Spirit. With the help of the Holy Spirit, we can do the work to take captive our critical thoughts so we can cultivate self-compassion, especially on the hard days.

We each deserve the same understanding, compassion, gentleness, and patience we so freely offer to others. The type of understanding that says “I know this hurts” and how can I care for myself at this moment?

Instead of continuously criticizing and judging yourself for all your shortcomings, self-compassion allows you to embrace your frailties with kindness and understanding.
The next time you have an overwhelming day, and it seems like nothing you do goes right, please pause. Take a moment and give yourself some compassion. Not sure where to start. Here are three phrases you can use to help you cultivate self-compassion today.

I forgive myself.

Say this with me. “I forgive myself.”

We have all done things we are not proud of. Maybe you promised to play with your kid, but you watched Netflix instead. Maybe you yelled at your husband just because you were tired. Maybe you said some hurtful things to a friend. Perhaps you spent the money you were supposed to save.

I get it. I have laid in my bed at night rehearsing all the ways I missed the mark AGAIN. You fussed at your kids AGAIN. You decided to eat your emotions AGAIN. In that overwhelming moment, you can feel as if you mess up everything you do. This is a lie! This is the human condition we all share — one filled with failing and getting back up again.

The biggest hurdle in your way to a path of forgiveness is often the guilt associated with our mistakes. This is the trick of the enemy. Guilt is meant to take you captive, to keep you stuck in your mistakes, and isolated from meaningful relationships.

When we go to God, repent of our wrongdoings, we can lay our guilt down. His word says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful to and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” ( 1 John 1: 9).

The next time you find yourself being critical because you messed up, say out loud “I forgive myself” then allow the Holy Spirit to direct you on how to make the necessary changes WITHOUT condemnation.

What is God showing me?

The next time you have a hard day instead of asking “Why is this happening to me?” pause to ask “What is God showing me?”

When we ask “what” we focus on opportunities to grow instead of punishment for mistakes, we open our hearts to be directed by the Holy Spirit instead of being directed by our need to be validated by people. The moment we decide to show self-compassion during the hard moments, we allow ourselves to live a life true to who we are.

Hard days are not punishment. In many cases, the hard days are moments for God to show up in magnificent ways in our lives. We find strength in being surrender to His will. The next time your day is not going the way you planned, take a moment to ask God, “What is it you are showing me?” then be willing to see.

I am learning.

How often have you thought to yourself, “How am I so stupid?”, “I’ll never be able to do this,” or “I’ll never change.”? This negative self-talk is often a default for many of us. We believe that the inner critic is a motivator for us to push harder and do more. But this is another lie!

Instead of saying “I will never be able to do this” replace it with “I am learning.” Anytime we are learning; we are also growing. The moment we are stretched outside our comfort zones, we are challenged to face our fears. Then just like that, we step into wonder.

The perfectionist in you, the performer in you, the people pleaser in you will cringe at the idea of making mistakes. Yes, I know you want to do things “right.” But hear me, friend, you will make mistakes, but you are NOT the mistake. Self-compassion reminds you to reflect on what you can learn even on the hard days.

Dear friend, I hope today you walk away knowing that love and compassion for yourself are not luxuries, but rather necessities to a healthy, whole you. Self-compassion is a vital tool to help us be better women, wives, mothers, and contributors to our societies. We step out of the prison of perfectionism to embrace our humanity. We can be flawed, broken, and still a masterpiece. We are worthy of love, of goodness, of all God has in store for us. Let your words be sprinkled with love, kindness, and understanding. Today a fresh start filled with untapped potential.

Cheering you on,

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61 comments on “Refill your tank: 3 ways cultivate self-compassion on hard days

  1. This is such an important post to read, and I appreciate you sharing it 🙂
    We can be so hard on ourselves, and need to show care, love and appreciation for all we do!

    • Mamie L. Pack

      Yes!! We can give understanding and kindness to others easily. We need to do the same for ourselves.

      • This was a great read. We must remind ourselves to give compassion and forgiveness not only to others but to ourselves as well.

      • Mamie L. Pack

        Absolutely. Sometimes we extend grace to others so easily and forget to do the same for ourselves.

  2. Great post! We are often our own worst enemy. I’ve struggled with this for years as well. Thanks for sharing practical ways to help combat these feelings!

  3. This is something I needed to see, so thank you for writing it. We are often too hard on ourselves. We should practice forgiving ourselves on a regular basis. We won’t be able to really progress in life without loving and respecting ourselves, no matter how much we love and respect others.

  4. More people need to see this. Thank you for posting! Such a great reminder.

  5. Great, great, great post! We all need this! So many great and encouraging words. Thank you so much for this wonderful post!

  6. Forgiving yourself is probably the hardest thing to do

  7. Compassion is not always easy and certainly hard if we don’t seek help from God. It is always good to pray for God to help us see others before ourselves and help those in need and be forgiving as well … just as we are forgiven. Great article, I enjoy reading your posts!

    • Mamie L. Pack

      Thanks. Yes, the same we would do and pray for other, we need it too. It’s not selfish. It learning how to give ourself grace for being human.

  8. I love replacing “I am stupid” with “I am learning”

  9. Such a difficult concept for me right now. I struggle with my imperfections and not being able to hit everything just right. It plays into my insecurities then. Got to work on that!

    • Mamie L. Pack

      Many women do! Try to set realistic expectations and then extend yourself GRACE.

  10. I also like replacing I’m stupid with I’m learning. I keep coming across articles about growth vs fixed mindset. If we think that we can learn if we put forth the effort, it’s much more likely to happen. Plus we’re not going anywhere in life if we aren’t learning and it’s never too late to learn something new.

    • Mamie L. Pack

      Oh, I love all the research on growth mindset vs fixed mindset. So much power happens with controlling what and how we think.

  11. Good read! I love this post. Thanks for sharing ♥️ ♥️ By any chance you are interested on doing collaborations, you can check out the collaborations portal of Phlanx.com and connect with amazing brands!



    I can totally relate to when everything seems to be going wrong and I blame myself. It can be so hard to get past. This is so helpful with that!

  13. If we learn from our mistake and keep pushing forward it makes a different. Each time I make mistake or do something so damn. I always take it as learning experience. Because in life as we grow older we will be going through a lot of learning. And also seek help from God is a definitely a great idea.

  14. Angela Johnson

    Mamie, this was great! I especially took notice when you said, “Instead of asking Why is this happening to me?, and What are you showing me?. Oh how things would change if we would all do this. Thank you so much for sharing!

  15. Great questions to ask yourself! Thank you for this!

  16. lifeofababema

    I love this post and how practical and spot-on it is! It’s so easy to think negatively but you’ve shown us how we can switch our perspective which will allow God to show for His strength, mercy, love, and power. Wonderful post especially for busy mommies like me!

  17. I needed this. I lay at night going over everything I wish I could’ve changed when I need to just let things go and see what I am to learn from it. This was a wonderful reminder.

    • Mamie L. Pack

      Oh, I am so glad it encouraged you Tish. We are more than our mistakes or the moments we miss.

  18. I loved this. We’re often so much kinder to others than we are to ourselves. You’ve shared some wise words.

    • Mamie L. Pack

      Sadly that is so true! If we could only be kinder to ourselves, we would be able to do so much more.

  19. This is such a beautiful post! I would never speak to my friends or my husband the way I frequently find myself speaking to myself. I get so mad when my husband or kids put themselves down – and yet I do it much too often. It’s something that I have to be conscientious about

    • Mamie L. Pack

      Oh, thank you Charlene! Our inner dialogue impacts so much.

  20. That’s a lovely post. Positive and energetic 🙂 Keep Glittering, love TGA by Misha <3 🙂

  21. Aditi Wardhan Singh

    We are hardest on ourselves. this are all so important to remember to do… 💖💖

  22. I need this right now. It’s summer break and my kids, one with special needs, are driving me to the point of insanity. I’ve had some not so proud mama moments… but that’s okay.

  23. It’s good to take time for ourselves to do some self care. So good for our mental health! Thanks for sharing this – it is a good reminder and great ideas.

  24. Remembering that we are always learning and make mistakes is huge.

    • Mamie L. Pack

      Oh, yes Sarah. Learning how to extend grace to ourselves is essential.

  25. I am totally guilty. I have realized this a couple of months ago and I have been struggling to be more compassionate and understanding of others. For a time, I become hot tempered and easily pissed off my mistakes of others.

    Thank you for this reminder. If people could be more compassionate, the world will definitely be a better place.

    • Mamie L. Pack

      Absolutely Clarice. Learning how to extend self-compassion to ourselves makes it easier to then extend compassion to others.

  26. I need to work on “I forgive myself.” It’s hard sometimes!

    • Mamie L. Pack

      Yes, we are all works in progress. Learning how to forgive ourselves is just as important as how we forgive others.

  27. This is such an important read. I am constantly forgiving myself, luckily generally for new things, so I’m learning.

    • Mamie L. Pack

      Learning how to extend grace to ourselves is so important.

  28. I needed to read this as well, I put SO much pressure on myself to accomplish things and I have no idea why because it makes it that much harder.

  29. I needed this! Never though of self compassion as a skill or something that could be improved. It’s time for me to take my life back. Thanks so much for this article!

  30. Pingback: Treat Yourself As You Would Treat Others: Self-Compassion For Special Needs Moms - Lullaby Lark

  31. We don’t hear self-compassion a lot… i think it’s because just like self-care, we have to accept and understand that it’s okay to think about ourselves.

  32. alunderfullife

    Forgiving ourselves can be so hard but it is so important to do!

  33. “What is God showing me?” IS THE BEST one. I truly believe that everything that we go through is part of life but with God on our side, He will seek us through and He will protect us. We will grow from every situation, as long as we see Him through it all.

  34. Great tips! Remembering to show yourself grace and compassion is not only important but helps when it is time to do the same for others.

  35. What a fantastic reminder! I have so much guilt some days about all the things I should have done, or should have done differently. Forgiving myself is the hardest thing, even though I’m relatively forgiving with others.

    • Mamie L. Pack

      Many women are more likely to forgive others than themselves. We hold ourselves captive to our mistakes. Time to break free!

  36. Forgiving yourself is crucial! These are great tips and great advice.. we are harder on ourselves than those who have done us wrong

    • Mamie L. Pack

      Sadly we can give others the same grace we don’t give to ourselves. We need compassion too.

  37. Talking to my kids really helped me with this. When I needed a break instead of getting down on myself I would explain to them why mommy can’t watch this same flip for the 10th time. Mommy is tired, she did this and this and that and she needs a break to enjoy her show before making dinner. They get it, and that is why I don’t own mom guilt. The rest of the world can always wait.

  38. Pingback: Self-care routines for moms Self-care routines for moms. - MrsChettyLife

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