Self-Compassion Worksheet

If you are helping a client who has low self-esteem, then issue this Self-Compassion Worksheet to help remind them of their sef-worth.

By Matt Olivares on Jul 17, 2024.


Fact Checked by Nate Lacson.

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What are Self-Compassion Worksheets?

Almost everyone experiences a period of self-doubt, thinking they are worthless, that what they are doing has no meaning, and feel unloved or uncared for. Some people can snap out of this state, while others dwell on it a little longer.

If you are treating clients with mental health problems, self-criticism, low self-esteem, and other difficult emotions, Self-Compassion Worksheets might be helpful. Although these tools come in different forms, they ultimately serve the same purpose: to help give clients confidence, self-love, and self-worth, especially during trying times.

These worksheets typically provide self-compassion exercises for the patient, helping them examine themselves and their self-judgment and negative thoughts to find ways to become self-compassionate people.

Self-compassion exercises

Self-compassion exercises are vital tools healthcare professionals can introduce to their patients to enhance emotional well-being and resilience. Some individuals follow the Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) program Dr. Christopher Germer and Dr. Kristin Neff developed. This program combines mindfulness and self-compassion techniques to build emotional resilience, using materials like The Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook and Teaching the Mindful Self-Compassion Program.

For a start, here are some practical self-compassion exercises you may use during sessions:

1. Mindful self-compassion break

This involves taking a self-compassion pause, recognizing one's feelings, and responding to oneself with kindness. When faced with a stressful situation, one can silently acknowledge the struggle ("This is hard"), remind themselves that difficulty is part of life ("Everyone struggles"), and offer words of kindness to themselves ("May I be kind to myself at this moment").

2. Self-compassion journaling

Keeping a self-compassion journal about daily challenges and negative emotions can help individuals process their feelings. Guide them to write about their struggles with a compassionate and understanding tone, focusing on being non-judgmental and kind to themselves.

3. Loving-kindness meditation

Loving-kindness meditation focuses on developing feelings of goodwill, kindness, and warmth towards oneself and others. Patients can start by directing kind thoughts towards themselves ("May I be happy, may I be healthy") and then gradually extend these wishes to others.

4. Identifying and challenging self-critical thoughts

Help highly self-critical patients recognize when they are engaging in critical self-talk and guide them to challenge and reframe these thoughts more compassionately and realistically. Encouraging self-love is integral to fostering self-compassion, allowing patients to embrace and appreciate their intrinsic worth.

5. Practicing gratitude

Encouraging gratitude can shift focus from criticism to appreciation. Suggest that patients maintain a gratitude journal, noting things they appreciate about themselves each day.

How to use this Self-Compassion Worksheet

One of the Self-Compassion Worksheets we have here comes in epistolary form, called "Letter to Yourself." All you have to do is to follow these steps:

Step 1: Download the worksheet

Download the template using the link provided in this guide and input patient information.

Step 2: Encourage self-reflection

Exploring self-compassion is impossible without self-reflection. To help clients frame their thoughts, we have some guide questions and prompts that hopefully give them the nudge they need to write. This is also a perfect time to practice mindfulness. They can close their eyes, take a few deep breaths, and focus on the present moment. Instruct them to acknowledge any self-critical thoughts without judgment.

Step 3: Write the letter

Clients may experience difficulty writing the letter because they will write something that will hopefully make them kinder to themselves. However, given their low self-esteem, expressing this kindness is not something they can easily do. Continue to motivate them, emphasizing that self-kindness will help steer their path toward self-improvement.

Step 4: Store and revisit when needed

Store the worksheet and ensure that the clients also have a copy. If something makes them feel bad and they start thinking about themselves negatively, prompt them to reread the letter to remind themselves to be kind to themselves and that they are great.

Who can use Self-Compassion Worksheets?

The worksheet is primarily for clients in therapy or counseling. They will engage with the worksheets the most, and the instructions are designed to help them work through the resource specifically.

As for healthcare professionals, the following can use this Self-Compassion Worksheet:

  • Mental health therapists
  • Counselors
  • Psychologists
  • Psychiatrists

So long as they specialize in dealing with and treating clients with mental health-related problems, they can use this for their work. They can use this or other Self-Compassion Worksheets for therapy discussions with their clients, whether during individual appointments or group therapy, where people can share their thoughts about themselves. Another helpful resource is the compassion worksheet, which can be used alongside relaxation techniques and dialectical behavior therapy for a comprehensive approach to client care.

What are the benefits of using this Self-Compassion Worksheet?

Using the worksheet where clients can write to themselves can bring several benefits. Here are some of these:

It can help clients become more aware of what they feel and want.

The Letter to Yourself Self-Compassion Worksheet can help the client think about themselves with the necessary distance to properly examine the reasons that have contributed to or caused negative views. This worksheet allows them to identify what they like about themselves and what support systems they have; by identifying those, they might get a better sense of self.

It helps make clients less critical of themselves.

The self can be one's worst critic. People with negative views of themselves are highly likely to be self-critical. They start scrutinizing everything about themselves and what they do, and then, if they come up short, they start thinking they are the worst person in the world and maybe they don't deserve anything. This worksheet allows people to shift their high expectations for themselves to something more realistic and reasonable.

It might help them regulate their emotions better.

Since we discussed how clients will have the opportunity to become more self-aware, self-reflexive, realistic, and reasonable in their expectations for themselves (and, in turn, less critical of themselves), this also opens up the opportunity to regulate their emotions better. By regulating their emotions, they will better mitigate their self-loathing and improve their emotional resilience, especially if they are going through trying times.

Are Self-Compassion Worksheets even effective?
Are Self-Compassion Worksheets even effective?

Commonly asked questions

Are Self-Compassion Worksheets even effective?

Yes, but the effectiveness of these worksheets will also depend on whether the client is willing to engage with the prompts as well as if they are motivated and ready to change how they think about themselves.

How difficult is it to answer Self-Compassion Worksheets?

Typically, Self-Compassion Worksheets are easy to accomplish in concept and when it comes to the instructions. The challenge lies within the patient. Given low self-esteem and self-worth, clients may find it hard to think about themselves and feel motivated and ready to change. They might find it challenging to reflect on themselves. To help make this easy for them, you must ensure they can trust you and are in a space where they won't be judged. This will help them practice self-compassion, self-acceptance, and self-care.

What if I’m not a healthcare professional and I stumbled upon this guide? Am I allowed to use the worksheet?

Yes, but note that this is not a substitute for therapy and counseling. If you are using this for yourself, then by all means, use it. However, if you are suffering from a lack of self-compassion, self-esteem, and self-worth, we highly recommend seeing a professional. This is so that an actual care plan can be created to help you work through your mental health-related problems.

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