Written by: Itzel Ballew, LMFT #101210
Western culture often places importance on being nice to others - like family and friends, especially when a person is struggling. But what happens when we struggle? So, often we are critical or avoidant of our painful experiences, and we don’t treat ourselves so kindly. Self-compassion is a practice that involves treating oneself the way we would a friend who is struggling. Although this may sound simple, you may find that it can be challenging to soothe and comfort yourself when you feel, say, inadequate or have made a mistake. So often our first reaction when things go wrong is to attack ourselves!
In the midst of what is going on in the world today, let us change this, and begin cultivating a care-system within ourselves. One way to begin is through inner self-exploration. You can begin with journaling and asking yourself the following questions:
~ What are my thoughts about self-compassion?
~ What did I say to myself and how did I treat myself the last time I felt like I was struggling?
~ What barriers can come up for me during this practice?
~ How can this practice benefit me?
This practice incorporates elements of kindness, mindfulness and common humanity which we will look at closer in the upcoming weeks. These three elements make up loving-connected presence or Self-Compassion.
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*Resource: The Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook by Kristin Neff PhD & Christopher Germer PhD.