The Gift of Compassion
Have you ever bought a gift for yourself? Stopping off in the local bakery for a chocolate croissant. Buying that aftershave you've wanted for months. Treating yourself to a cafe lunch at work rather than leftovers from the night before. Maybe these gifts are for a job well done, or because it's been 'one of those days'.
Depending on our financial circumstances, we can buy ourselves things without even thinking about their worth or even if they're necessary. Bags, clothes, shoes, cars.... A tangible object to make the intangible feel better.
How often do we gift ourselves time.... love... or compassion? The gift we so often give to others but don't hold for ourselves. How often do we speak to ourselves negatively? Berating ourselves for mistakes that we would allow from others. We know we wouldn't be so hasty with our friends, family or partners.... so why must we chastise ourselves?
So how about we try this. When the negative thoughts auto-connect to our brains bluetooth and those speakers are blaring really loud! Let them go. Let's take the time this week to gift ourselves compassion. Let's take it easy in the hope of making this treatment a new habit.
Try this 5 minute self-compassion exercise that I found really helpful from https://www.mindful.org/try-a-self-compassion-break/
1. Think of a situation in your life that is causing you stress, such as a health problem, relationship problem, work problem, or some other struggle.
2. Choose a problem in the mild to moderate range, not a big problem, as we want to build the resource of self-compassion gradually.
3. Visualise the situation clearly in your mind’s eye. What is the setting? Who is saying what to whom? What is happening? What might happen?
4. Can you feel discomfort in your body as you bring this difficulty to mind? If not, choose a slightly more difficult problem.
5. Now, try saying to yourself: “This is a moment of suffering.” That’s mindfulness. Perhaps other wording speaks to you better. Some options are: This hurts. Ouch. This is stressful.
6. Now, try saying to yourself: “Suffering is a part of life.” That’s common humanity. Other options include: I’m not alone. Everyone experiences this, just like me. This is how it feels when people struggle in this way.
7. Now, offer yourself the gesture of soothing touch and try saying to yourself: “May I be kind to myself” or “May I give myself what I need.”
8. Perhaps there are particular words of kindness and support that you need to hear right now in this difficult situation. Some options may be: May I accept myself as I am. May I begin to accept myself as I am. May I forgive myself. May I be strong. May I be patient.
9. If you’re having difficulty finding the right words, imagine that a dear friend or loved one is having the same problem as you. What would you say to this person? What simple message would you like to deliver to your friend, heart to heart?
10. Now see if you can offer the same message to yourself.