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Practicing Self-Compassion

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Last week week in class while we stretched, relaxed, breathed, and meditated, we talked about a little metaphor to help us see our lives, including the places where we felt broken or flawed, as opportunities to leak love and light into the world. We took time to listen to that inner voice of Love and asked the question, "How I can see my life, including the broken places, with different eyes, appreciating and even seeing those cracks as part of what makes me beautiful?"

This week to expand on that theme, I would like to return to the subject of self-compassion and our inner self talk, encouraging greater awareness of where our inner dialogue most often goes. When we see ourselves, do we give ourselves as much grace and love as we would a friend when we feel less than perfect? Are we kind in our assessment of our own actions? Can we look a little deeper and see the precious child within that is eager to bloom and full of optimism, acceptance, forgiveness and love? Sometimes I think just imagining ourselves as we were as children can go a long way to build some self-compassion.

Dr. Kristin Neff who has done much research and writings on self-compassion says,

Self-compassion entails being warm and understanding toward ourselves when we suffer, fail, or feel inadequate, rather than ignoring our pain or flagellating ourselves with self-criticism. Self-compassionate people recognize that being imperfect, failing, and experiencing life difficulties is inevitable, so they tend to be gentle with themselves when confronted with painful experiences rather than getting angry when life falls short of set ideals. People cannot always be or get exactly what they want. When this reality is denied or fought against suffering increases in the form of stress, frustration and self-criticism. When this reality is accepted with sympathy and kindness, greater emotional equanimity is experienced.

I look forward to practicing self-compassion with you this week. See you on the mat.


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