Each day we have suffering of some sort or another. Each day contains its’ own challenges, and carries its’ own burdens. And each day gives us opportunity to continue in our path of troubles or to create a new experience of being kind to ourselves.
According to research most of us find it really easy to be kind to others and we find it very difficult to be kind to ourselves. Yet if we practice self-kindness and compassion in small doses each day it has a cumulative effect of cultivating greater compassion in our lives. And as we are more compassionate with ourselves we develop a more meaningful experience with being compassionate towards other people.
In the Mindful Self-Compassion training, a program developed by Dr. Kristen Neff and Dr. Christopher Germer, we learn that daily practice of self-compassion can be learned and developed. There are some easy ways that we can be kind to ourselves each day:
- Taking time to notice the pain that we are experiencing emotionally and then being kind by talking to ourselves like we might talk to a friend.
- We can use a softer, more gentle tone and then perhaps use works that are kind and understanding rather than harsh and self-critical.
- We can also place our hands in a soothing touch, placing them over your heart for instance, and allow ourselves to be soothed by the warmth of our own hands.
- We can take breaks in the day and allow time for relaxation or meditation. These breaks do not have to be 45 minutes long to receive benefits. Sometimes just some slow breaths with our hands on our hearts, allowing ourselves to be just who we are in this moment is enough to reduce suffering, even if it is only for that moment.
Each time that we offer ourselves a break to approach any challenge or personal suffering with compassion and kindness reduces stress and allows us to open our hearts more to others and to new experiences. May you show more compassion in your daily life towards yourself and watch how it grows towards others.