Being kind to yourself is difficult for most. When we are taught as children to treat others as we would like to be treated, did anyone teach you how to be kind to yourself? Was there a time when someone said, “You should show yourself some compassion.” Surprisingly, I don’t remember anyone saying those things to me.
Self-compassion involves three key elements that we put upon ourselves when we are in pain: self-kindness, common humanity (aka recognizing and acknowledging that you and everyone else around you feels pain and sadness), and mindfulness.
Self-compassion is important for mental wellbeing, healthy relationships, and a healthy soul; it is also important to build your resilience for coping with stressful life events, like divorce or failure. Self-compassion gives you the ability to look at your failures for what they are and reflect on the positives from the situation. Having self-compassion does not make you weak, narcissistic, or unaccountable, it is actually the opposite of all three. Self-compassion gives you strength and courage to do things you wouldn’t normally do, it makes you more aware of how you are treating your body and how to treat it better, and it gives you the space to admit your mistakes and learn from them, rather than running from them. It makes you fear failure less and pushed you towards your personal goals.
How can you practice self-compassion? One way is by writing a letter to yourself. Start with these three prompts:
Writing these things from a different perspective will allow you to see your own thoughts in ways you never normally think about them. Allow the words to sit with you and let them comfort you as if they were coming from an old friend.
If you are looking to develop your resilience, try these exercises designed to rewire the way your brain reacts to certain events.
This is an exercise from resilience expert Linda Graham for shifting our awareness and bringing acceptance to the experience of the moment.
One additional practice is The RAIN of Self-Compassion Meditation
Self-compassion is dependent on communicating honestly and directly with our vulnerabilities. This meditation practice focuses on addressing feelings of insecurity and unworthiness.
While exploring this meditation practice, you can either utilize RAIN as a stand-alone meditation practice or use a shortened version when needed to deal with challenging emotions.
R – RECOGNIZE WHAT IS GOING ON
A – ALLOW THE EXPERIENCE TO BE THERE, AS IS
I – INVESTIGATE WITH KINDNESS
N- NATURAL AWARENESS
This practice is not a one-time shot, it is a practice for life! RAIN allows you to meet your doubts and fears with a healing presence. Give yourself a cleansing rain of kindness to supersede your trance of “not good enough” thoughts. As you practice this meditation, you may feel a sense of warmth, openness, and a shift to a more positive perspective. Trust that feeling and let it guide you to a more loving and accepting natural awareness.
Be aware of what your internal voice is saying and recognize when it is limiting your full potential. We are all worthy, intelligent, and important people so treat yourself as such.
© Jessica Gershman, 2021
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