Author Topic: 30 Days of Self-Compassion  (Read 11106 times)

jane x

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30 Days of Self-Compassion
« on: May 08, 2018, 01:45:11 PM »
What is self-compassion and how can we practice it?

I want to know this.  I want to learn it.  By doing. 

My good friend @jooniFLORisploo has generously offered to help me figure it out.  And we invite anyone interested to join us for a 30 day discussion and practice on being more compassionate with ourselves. 

So let's start. 

jooni - What does self-compassion mean to you? 

joonifloofeefloo

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Re: 30 Days of Self-Compassion
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2018, 02:01:13 PM »
Oh, lol! I don't know that I can help you figure it out! I'm just along for the ride, because what a wonderful topic idea :)

I think self-compassion is simply being with ourselves in the way we would be in our softest moments with a small child. A perspective of space, understanding, gentleness. I think it allows us to subsequently extend compassion to others, maintain our health, and stand more powerfully in the wave of convention, among other good things.

I think it's a great focus for people in tough situations (caregiving, working a crappy job, broke, health challenges, etc). In this difficult circumstance, how can I show some kindness to myself? When I'm depleted internally, how can I refill my stores? I think it's also key for people preparing to FIRE. Upon retirement, a lot of people go through a tough transition, a sense of flailing, panic, disorientation, even lonesomeness. Practicing self-compassion in advance can make that phase a little lighter.

If I'm reluctant to practice it, or about to do the opposite, I try to think of setting an example for my child or anyone else. I want to create room on the planet for this habit, want everyone to know we deserve this gentleness.

Maybe we can share ways we practice self-compassion? Have you identified any for you yet, jane x?

jane x

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Re: 30 Days of Self-Compassion
« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2018, 02:47:14 PM »
I think you'll be able to help a lot just by sharing what you know.  That's what I meant.  :)  And I think even just talking about things helps a lot because it jogs our psyche and stimulates new ideas and perspectives.

When the topic came up in the weight loss thread, I looked it up (Google has all the answers, right?!)  And I found a couple of interesting things:

1.  A definition for it:
Self-compassion is extending compassion to one's self in instances of perceived inadequacy, failure, or general suffering. Kristin Neff has defined self-compassion as being composed of three main components – self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness.

Self-kindness: Self-compassion entails being warm towards oneself when encountering pain and personal shortcomings, rather than ignoring them or hurting oneself with self-criticism.

Common humanity: Self-compassion also involves recognizing that suffering and personal failure is part of the shared human experience.

Mindfulness
: Self-compassion requires taking a balanced approach to one's negative emotions so that feelings are neither suppressed nor exaggerated. Negative thoughts and emotions are observed with openness, so that they are held in mindful awareness. Mindfulness is a non-judgmental, receptive mind state in which individuals observe their thoughts and feelings as they are, without trying to suppress or deny them. Conversely, mindfulness requires that one not be "over-identified" with mental or emotional phenomena, so that one suffers aversive reactions. This latter type of response involves narrowly focusing and ruminating on one's negative emotions.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-compassion


2.  A Self-Compassion Scale developed by Kristin Neff based on the above definition:
 http://self-compassion.org/test-how-self-compassionate-you-are/

My results were not good.  In fact, I have nowhere to go but up! So as you can see, I'm coming at this from a basic beginner understanding.  Or lack thereof.  But I have lots of enthusiasm!  And I genuinely want to discover what this is. 

I read what you posted and I'm going to give it some time to percolate.  It's excellent stuff.  I might need to break it down into sections and focus on one at a time.  So right now, that focus would be on this:

"...self-compassion is simply being with ourselves in the way we would be in our softest moments with a small child.  A perspective of space, understanding, gentleness."   jooni

« Last Edit: May 08, 2018, 03:03:37 PM by jane x »

madgeylou

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Re: 30 Days of Self-Compassion
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2018, 04:06:43 PM »
I'm in! In the rough time I'm currently going through, I have some great support from friends -- real life ones and internet ones -- but I'm physically alone for most hours of the day and night, and so if I'm going to receive any compassion, it's going to be from me.

Jooni's words about being there for yourself as you would for a struggling child really resonate with me, as do the words you found on self-compassion, jane x. So many of us are so hard on ourselves when we face trying times -- like "get it together! You should be able to deal with this!" But I have found that I respond so much better to words like "Aw, this is not easy, but we will find a way through it, and we'll learn from it, and in the meantime let's have some nice flowers and spend a little time in the sunshine, OK?" Just being encouraging to myself, talking to myself like a beloved friend rather than someone who needs to be kept in line.

At a retreat I went to once, the leader said something like, "We keep trying to force ourselves to grow, but look around at the world. That's not how growth happens. Growth is something that happens naturally when we are in the right environment." For me, that environment is encouraging and honest and sweet. The honesty is important, because we have to acknowledge reality and not hide away and try not to face it ... but we can acknowledge it and also acknowledge that it's difficult, it may take some time to sort through, but we believe in ourselves and can do it.

That's what self compassion feels like to me anyway. I tell myself the truth and am also very sweet and encouraging to myself as well. I do my best to never yell at myself. I don't always succeed, but it's my goal to be both real and unharsh as much as I can.

madgeylou

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Re: 30 Days of Self-Compassion
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2018, 04:10:28 PM »
One more thing that may or may not resonate for anyone else -- part of self compassion for me is to focus on treating my body well -- getting some joyful movement, getting good sleep, eating some nice yummy things that make me feel good -- instead of on what the scale says about my body.

Different folks can have different and valid approaches to this, but for me, trying to make my body get smaller or change its shape has never been an exercise in self-compassion.

FireHiker

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Re: 30 Days of Self-Compassion
« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2018, 04:20:17 PM »
One more thing that may or may not resonate for anyone else -- part of self compassion for me is to focus on treating my body well -- getting some joyful movement, getting good sleep, eating some nice yummy things that make me feel good -- instead of on what the scale says about my body.

Different folks can have different and valid approaches to this, but for me, trying to make my body get smaller or change its shape has never been an exercise in self-compassion.

This really resonates for me!! I turn 40 this year, and I'm trying to put my focus on things my body can do instead of what it looks like...but I am still pretty harsh with myself about the number on the scale. I've made specific plans for things I will do: half marathon (in June), hike Mt. Whitney (in July), and I'm trying really hard to focus on those goals and increasing strength/fitness as opposed to obsessing about the scale. I could really use some self-compassion though instead of self-criticism. I think I'll be joining you guys here. :)


madgeylou

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Re: 30 Days of Self-Compassion
« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2018, 04:24:19 PM »
A half marathon and hiking up a mountain sound amazing to me, like your body deserves not only compassion but many high fives as well :D

FireHiker

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Re: 30 Days of Self-Compassion
« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2018, 04:44:44 PM »
A half marathon and hiking up a mountain sound amazing to me, like your body deserves not only compassion but many high fives as well :D

Thanks! Of course all I see is the closet of clothes that still don't fit yet (from 2 kids ago) and the number on the scale. I think I need this 30 day challenge more than I realized! :)

bucketsofrain

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Re: 30 Days of Self-Compassion
« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2018, 06:07:45 PM »
Iíd love to join! I am quite unkind to myself, especially about having anxiety. Iím on a trip right now, which I am very happy about, but it makes me more anxious than usual. My feelings range from being annoyed at my anxiety to pretty deep self loathing (usually during a heightened state like a panic attack). Iíve recently realized... my anxiety is a known quantity. Iíve had it as long as I can remember. At various times Iíve assuaged it with therapy but itís time to accept it and myself. Now the question is how!

madgeylou

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Re: 30 Days of Self-Compassion
« Reply #9 on: May 08, 2018, 06:16:21 PM »
Iíve recently realized... my anxiety is a known quantity. Iíve had it as long as I can remember. At various times Iíve assuaged it with therapy but itís time to accept it and myself. Now the question is how!

Hey Buckets (can I call you Buckets? ☺️)

I struggle with anxiety sometimes too. I listened to a guided meditation a while ago that had a few simple gems that helped me, maybe they will help you, too.

First, is just the idea of acknowledging the feeling. ďHi, anxiety. I see you.Ē This has the effect of popping me out of the middle of the anxious feeling and into a more witnessing mode. Makes it less overwhelming.

The second is just to tell myself ďI feel anxious (or sad or whatever) and thatís ok. Itís hard, but itís normal, and it wonít last forever.Ē

I mean these statements donít end the anxiety attack for me or anything, but they help me find my footing within it if that makes sense ...

joonifloofeefloo

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Re: 30 Days of Self-Compassion
« Reply #10 on: May 08, 2018, 07:00:07 PM »
I just had a long visit with someone who was a stranger at the start of it. I feel like the conversation was really about compassion -for children, and for ourselves. As such, it involved huge fits of laughter :)    Self-compassion lets us see ourselves with light, lightness, humour. We make mistakes, or veer off the Ultimate Life Path, but when we can giggle hysterically about that, this is self-compassion. We're loving ourselves and accepting ourselves even while we're not matching what the world has wanted of us.

I like my new, self-compassionate buddy :)

Serendip

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Re: 30 Days of Self-Compassion
« Reply #11 on: May 08, 2018, 07:42:28 PM »
This is right up my alley, been working on this for years but there is always room for improvement. Actually HEAPS of room, thanks for starting this discussion :)

 I have a daily morning meditation practice, which for me is the main way I have learned to notice and note current self-talk as well as develop a bit of softness and humor in how I speak to and about myself.

 I listen to free online talks by Tara Brach (a meditation teacher & psychologist). She laughs at her own corny jokes and has been one my best teachers for embracing the human condition and practicing self-compassion.


« Last Edit: May 09, 2018, 05:35:20 PM by Serendip »

joonifloofeefloo

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Re: 30 Days of Self-Compassion
« Reply #12 on: May 09, 2018, 08:43:33 AM »
Ďmorning, fellow compassionistas/os :)

Yesterday I made a list of triggers and a list of soothers. Acknowledging these was already an act of self-compassion. Another step for me to practice SC is to ensure that a day with triggers is balanced with enough soothers to continue feeling well. It feels very helpful to have them set out as lists.

jane x

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Re: 30 Days of Self-Compassion
« Reply #13 on: May 09, 2018, 08:53:55 AM »
Good morning everyone!  And welcome!  So happy to have everyone's company.  :)

It's so nice to pop in and read everyone's posts.  It made me think that just be having this thread, we are actively engaged in self-compassion as it addresses the Common Humanity aspect of it.  Yay, us!!! 

I've done guided meditations too and found them very helpful, especially for anxiety, grief and sleep.  I'll check out the Tara Brach talks.  This is the site I've used, it's from Kaiser Permanente:  https://healthy.kaiserpermanente.org/health/care/!ut/p/a0/FchBDoMgEADAt_iAzYZEYfFmhH6hhdsGiZIIGELt99seZ9DjC33hO-3cUy18_uxCLD22md9bqnCnLVZ8okd_Nd4zoysVAocj_o9bT-GM6IzVap2MBamlBCGsgEWPBohoUkKp8UErXjnTZxmGL2IKPpI!/
 
Yesterday I was feeling some anxiety about a few things popping up in my brain and I did gentle soothing and reassuring and it helped quite a bit.  It provided temporary relief and after a few hours the thoughts went away and my mind felt clear and relaxed. 

I'm going to try for one daily exercise in self-compassion and post about it to help me make this into a habit.

Wishing us all a wonderful day!

finallyfrugal

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Re: 30 Days of Self-Compassion
« Reply #14 on: May 09, 2018, 09:13:06 AM »
Wow! I love this thread. I recently read Jordan Peterson's new book: 12 Rules for Life: An antidote to Chaos, (which I'd highly recommend if you like the intersection of psychology, anthropology, evolutionary biology, and philosophy) and the 2nd rule was "Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping"

He talked about how people with organ transplants don't always take their anti-rejection medication, but they'll give their pets their medication. Why? To put it simply, as humans we are aware of our humanity - the good and the depraved. We often have a deep inner self-loathing because of this knowledge.

So the practice of self-compassion seems critical. For me, self-compassion means forgiveness. Forgiving the past, all the decisions I made that I wouldn't make again, and accepting myself as I am, while being open to change.

Another great book on this topic is Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha by Tara Brach.

madgeylou

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Re: 30 Days of Self-Compassion
« Reply #15 on: May 09, 2018, 09:13:41 AM »
Yesterday I bought myself a bunch of lovely, inexpensive flowers while I was doing my grocery shopping. Then I came home and there were more flowers waiting for me at my doorstep, sent here by my BFF from New York :)

It's boosting my spirits a great deal several times a day to be surrounded by beautiful spring flowers in every room of my house!

G-dog

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Re: 30 Days of Self-Compassion
« Reply #16 on: May 09, 2018, 09:14:28 AM »
So, how difficult (or easy) has it been to identify triggers? I guess the level down from this is developing self-awareness in general.

madgeylou

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Re: 30 Days of Self-Compassion
« Reply #17 on: May 09, 2018, 09:15:14 AM »
Great post, finallyfrugal! Interesting point about each of us being aware of our own failings so deeply that it can make it difficult to forgive ourselves for them.

Another great book on this topic is Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha by Tara Brach.

I love this book, too!

G-dog

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Re: 30 Days of Self-Compassion
« Reply #18 on: May 09, 2018, 09:16:08 AM »
Yesterday I bought myself a bunch of lovely, inexpensive flowers while I was doing my grocery shopping. Then I came home and there were more flowers waiting for me at my doorstep, sent here by my BFF from New York :)

It's boosting my spirits a great deal several times a day to be surrounded by beautiful spring flowers in every room of my house!

I am loving your BFF! And you - good for bring8ng some beauty and nature into your space!

joonifloofeefloo

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Re: 30 Days of Self-Compassion
« Reply #19 on: May 09, 2018, 09:25:23 AM »
...the 2nd rule was "Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping"

Ooooooooooooooo... Love!!!

I think this is a big piece for me. I consciously function as my own social worker, nurse, doctor, teacher, coach, nutritionist, chef. No one else is going to do the associated tasks, and they're critical to a good life, so I make a point of doing them for me. And to be able to do them, I need a LOT of room in my life, so I delete any unnecessary tasks, outsource some that can be outsourced, etc. i.e., Living simply is the gateway to being able to care for myself as well as others.

For me, self-compassion means forgiveness. Forgiving the past, all the decisions I made that I wouldn't make again, and accepting myself as I am, while being open to change.

Also love!

Welcome, finallyfrugal :)

joonifloofeefloo

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Re: 30 Days of Self-Compassion
« Reply #20 on: May 09, 2018, 09:28:59 AM »
So, how difficult (or easy) has it been to identify triggers?

For me, it was a loooooooooooong process. My first 2-3 decades were mostly pain, because I didn't know that a bunch of things were causing me trouble. I didn't know why other people seemed to be moving through the world pretty okay, or even thriving, while I was disintegrating. Eventually I got a diagnosis + countless helpful therapies. Those helped me begin to identify triggers and begin developing effective workarounds.

I guess the level down from this is developing self-awareness in general.

I think that might be so, yes. To take good care of ourselves, to extend compassion to ourselves, we need to know what's up for us.

G-dog

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Re: 30 Days of Self-Compassion
« Reply #21 on: May 09, 2018, 09:46:06 AM »
@Anatidae V - you may find this thread helpful or at least interesting....

omachi

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Re: 30 Days of Self-Compassion
« Reply #22 on: May 09, 2018, 10:36:16 AM »
I'll join. This is something I need to work on. I am certainly my harshest critic. I've been catching myself lately, telling myself I'd never say such a thing to somebody else, so I probably shouldn't say it to myself, either. Next step, backing off the judgement and being nicer to myself.

Anatidae V

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Re: 30 Days of Self-Compassion
« Reply #23 on: May 09, 2018, 12:12:31 PM »
@Anatidae V - you may find this thread helpful or at least interesting....
I am much in need of this, you are spot-on, GDog.

wordnerd

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Re: 30 Days of Self-Compassion
« Reply #24 on: May 09, 2018, 01:03:05 PM »
I always need this, but this is a particularly good month since I just had a baby and need to be kind to myself in my recovery/sleep deprivation/etc. I'm in.

joonifloofeefloo

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Re: 30 Days of Self-Compassion
« Reply #25 on: May 10, 2018, 09:46:06 AM »
Self-Compassion: Day 3 of 30

What is one soothing word, phrase, or activity I can offer myself today?

joonifloofeefloo

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Re: 30 Days of Self-Compassion
« Reply #26 on: May 10, 2018, 09:54:19 AM »
My child has a strong need to know the day's itinerary. Generally he's fine if it needs to veer here and there, but he loves when it's written out and followed, and occasionally he can break if it's not done to the T. At the same time, I can't always know on Wednesday at 9pm (when I usually write out the itinerary) how I'll be feeling by 3pm Thursday. It depends: his functioning so far that day; the weather; how well I slept; whether I've gotten enough solitude in the interim...

So, my act of self-compassion today is to write in the itinerary 3pm x activity or y activity, mom's choice. Both activities are fun for the kid, but this allows mom some leeway, an option for a break 3pm+.

It acknowledges that I can't know the future, that my need for wiggle room is as genuine as his need for a written itinerary, and that I sometimes need a break. It also allows me to have one!

jane x

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Re: 30 Days of Self-Compassion
« Reply #27 on: May 10, 2018, 10:05:09 AM »
Yesterday I was having another moment of anxious thoughts/feelings and I very quickly began to self-soothe with reassurance, telling myself "Everything is going to be okay, everything is okay." and just repeating it gently and lovingly.  And just as quickly as the anxious feelings and thoughts arrived, they disappeared.  I'm pleasantly surprised that this so effective. 

To @G-dog's point earlier:  I do think in order to practice self-compassion we have to have some awareness of when we need it, or that we need it at all.  For me, it's harder to notice when I'm being critical or harsh with myself than to notice when I'm feeling bad, so I'm starting with that.  I'm working with the assumption that if I'm feeling bad, then I need some compassion.  I hope eventually that will lead to becoming aware of when I'm being hard on myself and causing myself pain. 

I like jooni's idea of finding a soothing word, phrase or activity to offer ourselves everyday.  I suffer from PTSD, so I know that having a daily ritual would be really beneficial. 

Hello Wonderful Super Brain!
What is a soothing word, phrase or activity that I can offer us daily?


(I read somewhere that since our brain is basically a very intelligent computer, it responds well to direct commands and inquiries).  :)

jane x

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Re: 30 Days of Self-Compassion
« Reply #28 on: May 10, 2018, 10:15:35 AM »
My child has a strong need to know the day's itinerary. Generally he's fine if it needs to veer here and there, but he loves when it's written out and followed, and occasionally he can break if it's not done to the T. At the same time, I can't always know on Wednesday at 9pm (when I usually write out the itinerary) how I'll be feeling by 3pm Thursday. It depends: his functioning so far that day; the weather; how well I slept; whether I've gotten enough solitude in the interim...

So, my act of self-compassion today is to write in the itinerary 3pm x activity or y activity, mom's choice. Both activities are fun for the kid, but this allows mom some leeway, an option for a break 3pm+.

It acknowledges that I can't know the future, that my need for wiggle room is as genuine as his need for a written itinerary, and that I sometimes need a break. It also allows me to have one!

When I used to have my nephew for the summers I found the same thing - he really needed a sense of structure.  So I created a daily schedule with blocks of time designated as "personal time" and "walk with dogs" and such so that he could have a general feeling of structure and order without me having to account for every hour of the day.  And it also let him know that during certain times he was responsible for his own entertainment.  It was amazing what a difference having that schedule made for him.  I saw him visibly relax and release a deep sigh.  I think not having a schedule was causing him a great deal of anxiety that I wasn't aware of.  I'm not a schedule person and I didn't realize how important that was for him. 

I'm glad that you have found a solution that will make both of you happy.

Serendip

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Re: 30 Days of Self-Compassion
« Reply #29 on: May 10, 2018, 10:40:58 AM »
Self-Compassion: Day 3 of 30

What is one soothing word, phrase, or activity I can offer myself today?

Rest : this is the word that came up for me
It's a day off that could easily be filled with errands/tasks/cleaning house, but I can feel that resting (without worry/shame) would be the most beneficial and even if that includes some tasks, they can be done with calm :)

madgeylou

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Re: 30 Days of Self-Compassion
« Reply #30 on: May 10, 2018, 10:41:29 AM »
Great idea, Jooni!

Jane X, based on your last post I wanted to recommend something to you -- I use an app called Insight Timer (it's free!) and there are tons of guided meditations on there. One of my favorites is called "Developing Lovingkindness" and the guy leading it has the nicest gentle accented voice. He takes you through the 5 stages of the Metta lovingkindness meditation. You may be familiar with it already. The idea is that you say these words and send these intentions to yourself and some other people, too

May I be well
May I be happy
May I be free from suffering

You start with yourself, then send the intentions/words to a beloved friend, then to someone you're neutral on, then to someone you're experiencing conflict with, then in radiating circles out to your neighborhood, town, country, and the whole world.

It's amazing how this makes me feel when I do it. Like the love meter in my heart just fills right up. And, in anxious moments, I can just repeat the lines above to myself, and get a mini-fill up right there and then.

When I was singing with Threshold Choir, we had a song based on this meditation that I sing to myself sometimes, too. I wish I could find a video of it for you! I always called it our Xanax song because whoever we were singing to would go right to sleep :)

jane x

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Re: 30 Days of Self-Compassion
« Reply #31 on: May 11, 2018, 08:47:12 AM »
madgeylou - that sounds really nice.  Thanks for sharing it.  It does make me feel relaxed just thinking about it. 

Yesterday was a bit of a challenge.  I got upset with dh about how he's handling something and I felt like he's expecting me to take on more burden than is fair and it made me angry so I expressed my anger to him.  Afterwards, I felt guilty/bad because I know that the action that he needs to take is difficult for him and that's why he's avoiding it.  And there's this conflict between me being compassionate with him and being fair to myself.  If I take on the burden, I will feel stressed and resentful, and if I push him, I feel guilty and mean.  And if we both ignore the thing, we will avoid discomfort but lose out on some significant money that is due us.  And end up feeling like doormats.  Happy doormats... is that a thing? 

And then the hilarious thing was that I afterwards I was reading the paper and these were our horoscopes:
Dh - If you are not careful you will be taken advantage of.
Me - Know when to say no. 

I've never put much stock into horoscopes, but how apt is this?! 

I guess today I want to work on extending compassion to both of us, since we both need it.  Lately we find the world a much harsher place than it felt like before.  I don't know if it's the political changes, the fear that those changes has caused in our culture in general and the many people we are surrounded by specifically (lots of immigrants from all over where we live, and a good amount of Dreamers who are now terrified for themselves and their families because now the government knows how to find them because they signed up for the program.)  And added to that is a big problem with housing affordability - we live in one of the most expensive areas in the country, if not the most expensive.  Families are being displaced and squeezed - not everyone here has a $100k/yr tech job.  Lots of working class and lower/middle class folks. 

But lately the environment feels hostile and harsh.  And we feel like we have to become assholes just to advocate for ourselves and receive what we are due (because we've paid for a service, etc).  We hate being assholes.  And we're saddened that being assholes seems the new norm and we better get with the program or get trampled in the process.  It's just really sad and depressing.

We need to make a concerted effort to add more positive experiences to our lives so that this negative aspect doesn't take over. 

Ok, back to self-compassion.  I'm going to allow myself some time to find my groove again now that I've released the bad stuff from last night. 

May I be well.
May I be happy.
May I be free from suffering.


joonifloofeefloo

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Re: 30 Days of Self-Compassion
« Reply #32 on: May 11, 2018, 09:00:02 AM »
I too have been struggling on some level for much of the last week (various factors, including politics, peopleís awful behaviours, etc). Thanks to this thread, yesterday I kept returning my mind to the question of self-compassion.

After many monthís of someoneís poor behaviour (though based in a brain miswiring), I decided it was okay for me to talk about this with my buddies. Freeing myself to talk about a concern/loss was an act of self-compassion.

After a tricky (albeit mostly delightful) week, I have a completly free day today, and am using it only to replenish myself, and to plan for more effective self-care for the next six weeks of a new schedule.

koshtra

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Re: 30 Days of Self-Compassion
« Reply #33 on: May 11, 2018, 09:06:16 AM »
Happy doormats... is that a thing? 

Nope :-)


wordnerd

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Re: 30 Days of Self-Compassion
« Reply #34 on: May 11, 2018, 09:10:45 AM »
I took my new baby and healing body into the backyard for awhile this morning. The breeze was fresh and cool, and the birds were chirping. The sunlight danced through the leaves. This was most definitely an act of self compassion for me. Funny how easy it easy to forget to go outside when you can't do the things you normally do.

G-dog

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Re: 30 Days of Self-Compassion
« Reply #35 on: May 11, 2018, 09:17:25 AM »
Iíd appreciate some discussion on what ďmay I be free of sufferingĒ means to each of you.

Obviously bad or annoying things happen to each of us, so it I feel itís not ďmay bad things not happen to meĒ

But maybe more ďmay I accept and deal with bad events gracefullyĒ

What is suffering? Focusing on the bad, feeling sorry for ourselves, being too passive, worrying?

Clearly, this can mean different things to different people, but iíd Appreciate some thinking out loud.

joonifloofeefloo

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Re: 30 Days of Self-Compassion
« Reply #36 on: May 11, 2018, 09:30:39 AM »
I generally decline to say that prayer. I instead meditate that I may have courage and strength to cope with and navigate difficulty. I feel like suffering is part of the human experience, so I ask for courage, strength, support, moments or relief so I can regroup...

G-dog

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Re: 30 Days of Self-Compassion
« Reply #37 on: May 11, 2018, 09:34:06 AM »
I generally decline to say that prayer. I instead meditate that I may have courage and strength to cope with and navigate difficulty. I feel like suffering is part of the human experience, so I ask for courage, strength, support, moments or relief so I can regroup...

Yes, this is part of my struggle. Suffering is unavoidable - you can be the luckiest person in the world, and do everything right, but you will still lose a loved one some day, and it will hurt...

But maybe there are other meanings I am not grasping, so I want to expand my thinking around this too.

koshtra

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Re: 30 Days of Self-Compassion
« Reply #38 on: May 11, 2018, 09:37:42 AM »
May all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness
May all beings be free of suffering and the causes of suffering
May all beings never be without the sacred joy that is without suffering
May all beings dwell in the great equanimity, free of attachment and aversion


I think the Buddha called it: the origin of suffering is what he called attachment, which would probably be better translated as something like entitlement or expectation. Spending 45 minutes on the phone to squabble about my crappy internet service is not actually a horrible experience: it's upsetting mainly because I feel I shouldn't have to, and because I expected to be able to do something else with that time.

I can't fix my internet service by practicing equanimity, but I can fix most of my suffering by letting go of my conviction that I shouldn't have to spend my time that way.

SachaFiscal

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Re: 30 Days of Self-Compassion
« Reply #39 on: May 11, 2018, 09:52:14 AM »
There's a buddhist parable about arrows that addresses the difference between pain (inevitable) and suffering (somewhat optional). It talks about pain and suffering like a man being hit with two arrows.  The first arrow is painful but the second arrow may be just as painful.  Similarly an event in our life can cause us pain (first arrow), but if we worry and brood and play it over in our heads we can cause ourselves suffering (second arrow).

Sometimes when I find myself worrying over something someone said to me or if I worry about a body pain I am having, I remind myself that I am shooting arrows at myself.

But I agree that suffering is part of the human experience and can be a tool to bring one back to the present moment.  Suffering is a loud indicator that I'm not present and that my mind has wandered off.  Becoming aware of that is the first step to come back home.

madgeylou

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Re: 30 Days of Self-Compassion
« Reply #40 on: May 11, 2018, 10:02:20 AM »
I see suffering similar to how Sasha and kostra have discussed it. Life is going to include hard spots and painful moments, but if I can feel those feelings and let them pass through me, it causes me less pain. It's like when you have a bug bite or a bruise. The bite or the bruise is painful, but if you keep running your fingers over it / itching it / worrying about it, then you're wrapping your pain up in a big old bundle of suffering.

In Island by Aldous Huxley (one of my favorite books of all time), the old raja talks about how 1/3 of suffering is built in to being a human, and 2/3 we heap on ourselves through worrying, brooding, not learning from our experiences, etc.

So while I don't think any life can be completely free of suffering -- just as I don't think any human can be completely happy all the time, or completely well all the time -- to me it's still a nice thing to wish for myself and someone else. It reminds me that some portion of my experience is up to me. Not all of it for sure, but generally more than what I think.

madgeylou

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Re: 30 Days of Self-Compassion
« Reply #41 on: May 11, 2018, 10:06:02 AM »
One more thing -- in this book I read called Love 2.0, the author (a positive psychology researcher) found that compassion towards others, compassion towards self, and lovingkindness meditation all increase vagus nerve tone and many other physiological markers of well-being and health.

To me this is super interesting stuff!
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-athletes-way/201705/kindness-towards-oneself-and-others-tones-your-vagus-nerve

jane x

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Re: 30 Days of Self-Compassion
« Reply #42 on: May 11, 2018, 10:12:49 AM »
I see suffering the way Sasha, koshtra and madgeylou do.  Sometimes it's really hard to see the difference and separate out the two.  I might feel guilty if I were to feel entitled to not suffer, when so many in the world do.  But if you separate pain from suffering, then it makes sense.

The arrow analogy is helpful and this story here helped me see it as well - Two Monks and a Woman: https://www.kindspring.org/story/view.php?sid=63753

Most of my suffering comes from carrying all my baggage around for a very long time.  I do think that unless we process our experience of pain, it's very difficult for the mind and body to release it.  And then the pain is compounded by suffering.

joonifloofeefloo

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Re: 30 Days of Self-Compassion
« Reply #43 on: May 11, 2018, 10:46:56 AM »
I've always loved the Two Monks and a Woman story :)

I experience most suffering as transient (thank goodness). So more like waves than a permanent condition. A trauma happens, I experience suffering for a time, I heal, no more suffering. Another trauma happens, ditto.

I believe that once we are safe from any given source of trauma, we have incredible capacity to heal (and no longer suffer, until the next time).

joonifloofeefloo

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Re: 30 Days of Self-Compassion
« Reply #44 on: May 11, 2018, 10:58:47 AM »
Speaking of monks and a woman...

Just now, I was cleaning my fridge. It's a self-care day, in which I get to do whatever I like! And I like creating cleanliness :)     When I moved in to my amazing place, it was very lightly cleaned. Any intensive cleaning was left for me to do. Two months in, I found today is one in which our fridge has only six things in it -an excellent day to tackle it, before I get groceries. It's looked "fine" to me, but the other day I noticed some little crumbs I would love to clear out. In approaching those, I found a bit more...so pulled a drawer out and found a stain...

I pulled out my handy dandy new magic eraser and was delighted as things I'd assumed were permanent came up!

As I continued to scrub and wipe, the following took place in my head:

"They only lightly cleaned it, now I'm intensively cleaning...yet when I move out, I will intensively clean again, because that's what I do. Well, that's okay, that's just fine... I like that I will prepare it so well for the next person... Oh yes, it's like at the monk retreat I stay at sometimes: When we exit, we're asked to clean our own room thoroughly, and to think of the next struggling person who will arrive, and clean it for them, being prayerful in the activity, blessing that next person while we prepare the space for them.

So, here I am, perhaps years in advance, doing the first round of preparations for the wonderful person who will come after me, tired and struggling, and grateful for a clean happy space...  Yes!

Oh! Wait! I am that person! I am the person for whom I am cleaning this space. I am the person I am blessing. For the next months or years or decades I will have a shiny, sparkling fridge because I took the time and effort to bless it for her. What a lovely gift. Thank you."


Cleaning my fridge this morning -blessing the space for the next person, who happens to be me- is an act of self-compassion.

Serendip

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Re: 30 Days of Self-Compassion
« Reply #45 on: May 11, 2018, 11:25:04 AM »
@jooniFLORisploo
that is a lovely cleaning story, in fact--it inspires me to want to scrub the fridge all sparkly :)

I feel a large part of my suffering is the story I am repeating internally about an experience or emotion; the thoughts I pin onto a situation, the history tagged onto it, the expectation for anything different than what reality offers.

If I can gracefully accept what reality is handing me in exactly this moment without a story, it helps me reduce mental anguish and occasionally brings calm, and sometimes even joy.

It doesn't mean that I can't take steps to shift things, but suffering often equals dwelling in the imagined past or future, which doesn't aid change.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2018, 08:36:23 AM by Serendip »

jane x

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Re: 30 Days of Self-Compassion
« Reply #46 on: May 11, 2018, 11:27:36 AM »
I instead meditate that I may have courage and strength to cope with and navigate difficulty. I feel like suffering is part of the human experience, so I ask for courage, strength, support, moments or relief so I can regroup...

During my walk I was thinking about this and realizing that this is a necessary component as well.  This feels like the active compliment to the wellness and happiness meditation.  Sometimes life can be really hard, and we need courage and strength to cope and move forward. 

This morning I had an appointment that left me frustrated and angry.  Dealing with insurance people who don't want to pay for damages made by their insured is a big PITA.  And I thought, okay, what action do I need to take so that I can put down the woman and not carry her around for the rest of the day/week?  I identified what action I felt would be most beneficial and I took it.  I have no control over that person, or over the insurance agency, but I can control my own action and sense of agency.  I've done my part and I can let it go.

And now I need to hop on over to my journal and post about positives. I'm noticing (with compassion) how difficult that is for me.  My brain wants to hang on to the the negative.  Self-protective mechanism.  It's okay, brain.  Everything is going to be okay.  Everything is okay.  I am okay. 


G-dog

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Re: 30 Days of Self-Compassion
« Reply #47 on: May 11, 2018, 11:48:15 AM »
Thanks everyone - some of these were perspectives I had thought of, and others add new views to add and consider.

Yes, two arrows - a good analogy.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2018, 01:14:58 PM by G-dog »

jane x

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Re: 30 Days of Self-Compassion
« Reply #48 on: May 12, 2018, 10:11:23 AM »
Good morning everyone.

This morning I've been thinking how easy it was to let go of my anger these last couple of days when I took notice of it and took action.  My dh and I talked through it and resolved the issue and all is well, and I made a phone call to the insurance company and expressed my upset about the appraiser's behavior and put that issue to rest.  It is soooo nice to not have a build up of resentment to carry around.  What a relief!  It occurs to me that when we take action to address our anger we are showing respect for it, ourselves, and our body's capacity for guidance.

Self-compassion... I guess the above is an exercise in the aspect of mindfulness as it relates to self-compassion.  I was aware of my anger, I stayed with it, and then I took stops to address the source of the anger without becoming reactive or blaming.  I did not become overly identified with it.  I think if I hadn't taken steps to address it, I would have.  And once the steps were taken, I was able to let go.  My system got the message that the issue was addressed and there was no further need for an anger signal. 

I wouldn't have thought that acting on anger was a practice in self-compassion.  For some reason I've always equated self-compassion with only soft and soothing behaviors and thoughts.  But this is making me realize that kindness and compassion can be manifested in many different ways, including assertiveness, confidence and strength. 

I have an area that needs my compassion right now - my face.  When I'm under stress my face breaks out terribly, and often with painful cystic acne.  No matter how hard I try, the flare-ups take a long time to resolve and heal (and each round leaves a new layer of scarring), even with several prescription topical treatments and washes.  The most effective way to resolve each flare-up is oral antibiotics, which I've done many times and which have caused serious damage to my gut flora.  And it's hard on my system as well, even a low dose of a mild antibiotic will give me serious nausea from day one.  And since all I can tolerate is low-dosage, my treatments are usually 4-6 weeks long.  I always feel like I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place.  Treat the face, at the expense of the stomach, or spare the stomach and suffer in the face. 

I would appreciate some advice on how to approach this with compassion.  I try really hard to be gentle with my face, in terms of not being angry or upset with my body for having this problem, and I try to not let it make me feel embarrassed or ashamed of myself.  Although I admit that sometimes I feel so discouraged and disheartened when I look at my face in the mirror and see it covered with red clusters of acne all over.  And I've been wearing foundation every day so that my face doesn't look so terrible when I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror.  When I see my face all inflamed I feel so sad and defeated.

omachi

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Re: 30 Days of Self-Compassion
« Reply #49 on: May 12, 2018, 03:35:37 PM »
I can think of a couple ways to practice self-compassion in the presence of flare-ups as described. The first would be to avoid the stresses that cause them in the first place. That can't always be done, but in the cases where you have a choice, choosing the less stressful option might be most self-compassionate, even at the expense of other things you desire.

The second is to accept that this is your condition to deal with and it doesn't make you any less a person because you have to deal with it. Spare the poor stomach and accept that any scars are yours to bear. It sounds like there are already some, so what are a few more compared to possible future stomach issues? The scars don't diminish you or define you; you're much more than them. And once you've accepted it, you may stop feeling heavy foundation is worthwhile if its an additional irritant. Not easy, society has certain expectations, but to start you can ask yourself why you feel compelled to conform to them if those aren't the expectations that you really want.