Of the many classes I teach at Green Mountain at Fox Run, Cultivating Self-Compassion is one that I find very important in our core program, as well as for my own journey.
At times, I set a course and expect that my behavior will align with my intentions, but then I find myself not engaging in the necessary actions to bring about desired change. That’s when I realize that I need to take a step back, take some deep breaths, and ask myself about my intention to change.
Why it is important to me?
Why do I want to make that change now?
What caused me to miss my opportunity to practice that new behavior?
How it begins
This process of self-reflection often leads me to my practice of self-compassion.
That’s when I focus on being kind to myself, being a compassionate friend to myself, and providing myself with encouragement to put a new, and slightly better designed plan in place.
Then, I begin. No waiting.
The plan involves acknowledging where I currently am, and taking one to two steps in the direction of my intended behavior change. Just small steps, nothing really big. Just enough to get my momentum going in the direction of change that I am seeking.
It’s okay to fail
The practice of self-compassion teaches me about myself, and also how to engage or re-engage with the process of change.
When I have failed to actively take the steps I had planned, instead of berating or putting myself down, I simply begin with acknowledging that I have missed my target– and that this is not the first time nor will it be the last. It is just part of the process.
I also know that I am not alone in missing my target behavior when it comes to making change. We all miss the mark at various times. It’s part of our common humanity.
Life for all of us just keeps changing, which makes keeping to our plan hard to manage.
So here are 10 things to remember in your practice of self-compassion:
- Practice self-compassion every day.
- Know that you are already very skilled at compassion.
- Speak to yourself as kindly as you do to those you love, care for, support, and encourage.
- In this breath, you begin to acknowledge your struggling and suffering, and choose to be kind to yourself, in spite of your innermost feelings of vulnerability, shame, and unworthiness.
- Seek out the opportunity for change and growth that presents itself through challenges and suffering, and treat yourself kindly in the process.
- Let go of beating yourself up.
- Stop listening to all that negative self-talk that runs automatically through your brain.
- Understand that ALL human beings struggle, suffer and experience self-doubt.
- Be kind to yourself, validate your inner experiences, and encourage yourself to rise again, and again, with greater strength and compassion each time.
- Believe in your heart that you are worthy of self-kindness, self-compassion, support and love, and that you must make this your practice every day of your journey toward becoming your healthier self.