Self-compassion is a core wellness skill. Without self-compassion we loose precious moments to critical self talk, unkind judgemental perception and comparison making.
Self-compassion is said to comprise of 3 elements: mindfulness, a sense of common humanity and self-kindness. It is something you can practice cultivating and learn to develop for yourself, so that you are more able to attain a state of ataraxia when needed.
Here’s 5 techniques to strengthen your ability for self-compassion:
1. Say ‘good morning you sexy thing’
When you see your reflection first thing in the morning, give yourself a cheeky smile and have a little giggle (no matter what you did or didn’t do the night before). This is a great way of not taking yourself too seriously, making yourself feel positive and also accepting yourself as you are.
2. Stop and breathe every now and then
Taking a mindful breath provides an opportunity to notice our internal world and any non-compassionate behaviour or self-talk. Stopping and breathing facilitate an opportunity for gratitude also. Maybe in this moment you will notice all that you are- a complete bloody brilliant star!
3. Do something nice for yourself
Everyday find something you want to do or need for your soul. It might be a yoga class, to lie in the sun naked or take yourself out for coffee. Get creative and learn to be treated kindly by yourself.
4. Do something nice for another.
Use an auto of kindness to tap into the world of another. Realise we are all sharing this crazy human experience together. No one person is anymore important, or less, than another and all of us are exposed to pain and thus vulnerable to suffering. Doing something nice for someone else is a way to connect, empathise and engage with them. Once you witness and enjoy their gratitude, your act of kindness will become a gift shared.
5. Practice a meditation of compassion
There is a fantastic Buddhist meditation that if you practice regularly can really help to cultivate a sense of compassion not only for yourself but for others and even your nemesis. I like to practice this meditation in the morning when I’m spending time with others that challenge me in order to build my tolerance for them and my ability to respond mindfully with heart throughout the day. It goes like this:
- Find a comfy position in which you can be alert yet relaxed.
- Bring your attention to your breathing. As best as you can settle into the present moment, leaving distraction behind and using your breathe as an anchor to the present moment.
- Bring to mind a being you love. Notice the sense of compassion you have for them. What does it feel like, what colour is it, where is it in your body? Now repeat in your head ‘may they be at peace.’
- Bring to mind a stranger or neutral person you encounter in your life such as, a bus driver you might see every now and then (they’re familiar yet you don’t know them so well). Bring to mind that same sense of compassion you tapped into for your loved one but hold it for this stranger and then repeat in your head ‘may they be at peace.’
- Bring to mind someone in your life you may find difficult to be with, such as a challenging work colleague. Bring to mind that same sense of compassion for them (as best you can) and repeat in your head ‘may they be at peace.’
- Lastly consider all sentient beings in this life and repeat in your head ‘may they all be at peace.’
- Now sit and simply notice any sense of self-compassion and compassion for others that you have created for yourself.There’s no right or wrong and maybe you don’t feel too much initially. But with repeated practices your ability to cultivate compassion will grow.So get going, you deserve it. Be kind to yourself and others, keep mindful and develop that sense of connection to other sentient beings.😉