Self-compassion is the future

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.” 
— The 14th Dalai Lama
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How many times has your inner critic told you that you're not worthy or you deserved that rejection, or that you're not pretty enough, or good enough? 

That you're just not enough?

Mine has, many times.

I've seen this in my immediate family, friends, entire humanity really...it's a conditioned stated of cultural and social thinking that is absolutely necessary to evolve, change and really just...stop.

The missing link for me is astonishingly simple yet extremely complicated to master.

It's called...self-compassion.

Not what you expected?

I know, it's a term we all are aware of but very few of us truly practice it.

I came across self-compassion after listening to Kelly McGonigal present the "Science of Compassion" and discovering that she's one of the founding members of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University.

Wait. What? A whole center on this? Where have I been?

THEN I decided to dig in a little deeper and found out there's a whole scientific world behind all this.

 Dr. Kristin Neff and Dr. Christopher Germer, are among the leading researchers/scientists and have developed an entire program called Mindful Self-Compassion (in which I enrolled and am taking online starting April 4th.) 

This "radical" concept of self-compassion really connected all the dots for me. I literally forgot how to be kind to myself and noticed how pretty much all of the people around me don't show compassion towards themselves either.

So I decided to change that. I decided to practice this radical notion of being good and kind towards myself in times of suffering or emotional pain.

Here's the definition:

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Self-compassion is extending compassion to one's self in instances of perceived inadequacy, failure, or general suffering.

 

And here are the 3 key components to self-compassion as defined by Dr. Kristin Neff:

1. Self-kindness vs. self-judgment
2. Common humanity vs. isolation
3. Mindfulness vs. over-identification

For a more detailed explanation on each one, click here.

This how these have helped me and how I practice them:

  • I ask myself what do I need right now or what does this moment need from me? I may feel the need to write in my journal or go for a walk, I tune in with my body and give myself permission to do precisely what I need, without giving into the thoughts of self-criticism or identifying with the voice in my head.

  • I remind myself I'm not alone. Not only do I have loving people around me at all times, I also know that through our common humanity we all share the same feelings of struggle and emotional difficulties. None of us are ever alone, we're all part of a collective "pain body" of shared emotions.

  • Meditation through mindfulness (see how taking a Mindfulness seminar has helped in all this??) has allowed me to be more comfortable in feeling my suffering. I've literally felt my awareness expand to include my pain. I used to resist it, but meditation has helped me become more comfortable in this.

  • I comfort myself and instead of listening to my critical voice when it tells me "you're too weak" or "get over this feeling of grief and pain already" I recognize it as just a thought, and let it pass instead of giving in to it. 

I can already sense the quality of my life is enhanced because of this.

This changes everything. It will change the way I interact with my own pain, how I can be more compassionate with others in their own suffering and more importantly, it will give me the hands-on knowledge and experience to pass along this message to others because I know in my heart, soul, and entire being, this is the core of everything. 

Compassion was, is and always will be the way.

And this is why I'm studying it. So I can present it, teach it and pass it along.

But first I have to practice it myself. So this is what I'm doing.

Comment to let me know: Do you practice self-compassion? Do you see other people being too harsh on themselves?
 

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