This journey of exploring the concept of compassion has grown into something bigger than I originally intended. I feel it is important to share with you, as it is a vehicle that fosters positive change. And we certainly need that in this world of ours! Yesterday I mentioned there were two interesting tools Prof Paul Gilbert introduced in his video on Compassion in Action.
Change starts with the self. Small steps, single steps are the beginning of a new journey. Being compassionate to self changes the internal and external world for the better. The momentum from that heart-centred way of being will then naturally flow out to others: Compassion in Action.
The first of the tools is the Compassionate Breath, the subject of yesterday’s post.
The second is Self-Compassion, the subject for today’s post.
‘Over the last decade or so, research has consistently shown a positive correlation between self-compassion and psychological well-being. People who have self-compassion also have greater social connectedness, emotional intelligence, happiness, and overall life satisfaction. Self-compassion has also been shown to correlate with less anxiety, depression, shame, and fear of failure.’
Dr Kristin Neff’s website is dedicated to self-compassion.
‘With self-compassion, we give ourselves the same kindness and care we’d give to a good friend.’
This is Exercise One on her website –
“How would you treat a friend”
Please take out a sheet of paper and answer the following questions:
- First, think about times when a close friend feels really bad about him or herself or is really struggling in some way. How would you respond to your friend in this situation (especially when you’re at your best)? Please write down what you typically do, what you say, and note the tone in which you typically talk to your friends.
- Now think about times when you feel bad about yourself or are struggling. How do you typically respond to yourself in these situations? Please write down what you typically do, what you say, and note the tone in which you talk to yourself.
- Did you notice a difference? If so, ask yourself why. What factors or fears come into play that lead you to treat yourself and others so differently?
- Please write down how you think things might change if you responded to yourself in the same way you typically respond to a close friend when you’re suffering.
Why not try treating yourself like a good friend and see what happens?’
I have just listened to another interesting video (48 mins) put out by the Prof called Compassion for the Dark Side. It addresses the importance of offsetting the dark side of our human nature. It’s easy to be compassionate under normal circumstances. But when things get hard, messy, hateful, whether it be in yourself or others, it becomes a lot harder. Yet it is at these times it becomes even more important to be compassionate. At the 39 minute mark the Prof talks about it’s qualities and what it is about compassion that makes it so important.
Be your own best friend