Today we continue with learning what mindful self-compassion is and isn’t and try a simple exercise.

About Self-Compassion (from a Mindful Self-Compassion workshop with Kristin Neff, PhD)

Self-compassion is not:

  • Self pity (“Woe is me; no one knows the pain I do”)
  • Self esteem (Tied to what we do/achieve rather than who we are)
  • Self indulgence (Short –term pleasure or escape)

Self-compassion is:

  • Self-kindness (Treating self with care and acceptance)
  • Common humanity (“We all struggle. I am not alone.”)
  • Mindfulness (Allows us to be – without suppressing or exaggerating)

Self-Compassion Exercise

When you are stressed or are struggling, gently say to yourself:

  • “This is hard.” or “This hurts.” or “I’m struggling.” (Mindfulness)
  • “Struggles are part of living.” or “I’m not alone.” Or “Other people struggle too.” (Common humanity)
  • “May I be kind to myself.” Or “May I accept myself as I am.” or “May I learn to accept myself.” (Self-kindness)

If you can’t find the words, recall what you say so easily to others when they are struggling.

Tips for Practicing Self-Compassion

  • Treat yourself with the same kindness you’d use with those you care about. If you wouldn’t say it to someone you love, don’t say it to yourself.
  • Be aware of your inner voice. If a critical message pops up in your mind, be prepared with a kind message in response. (“Why can’t I ever do this right?!” “This is hard. If I keep at it, I’ll get it right. Maybe I need to ask for help.”)
  • Try a gentle touch or gesture with yourself. Try folding your arms over your heart or cradling your chin as you might a child’s sweet face.

Quotes to Ponder

“Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.”  ~Buddhist proverb

“I’m on the patch right now. Where it releases small dosages of approval until I no longer crave it, and then I’m gonna rip it off.”  ~Ellen DeGeneres