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The Power of Self-Compassion

This is your super power for forgiveness and all encompassing self-love.

Some common misconceptions around self-compassion

  • It's self-pity or feeling sorry for oneself

  • It's selfish

  • It's narcissistic

Wrong, wrong, wrong...

Self-compassion is transformative it goes beyond self-love and taps into the shared commonality with all humans.

Self-compassion expert Dr Kristin Neff has laid out 3 simple steps to cultivate self-compassion.

1. Acknowledge a challenging moment, acknowledge the stress.

2. Acknowledge that suffering is a natural and normal part of life, and we all experience suffering, you are not alone!

3. Listen... what do you need to be kind to yourself in this moment. May i be kind to myself, may I accept myself, may I forgive myself... whatever it may be.

Researchers measured cortisol levels and heart rate variability among a group of people trained to have more self-compassion. Cortisol is a stress hormone, while heart rate variability is an indicator of the ability to adapt effectively to stress. The more self-compassionate versus self-critical that people were, the lower their cortisol levels and the higher their heart rate variability. This suggests that self-compassionate people are able to deal with the challenges life throws their way with greater emotional equanimity.

Excerpt from the book Self-compassion by Dr K. Neff

Self-compassion gives us the calm courage needed to face our unwanted emotions head-on. Because escape from painful feelings is not actually possible, our best option is to clearly but compassionately experience our difficult emotions just as they are in the present moment. Given that all experiences eventually come to an end, if we can allow ourselves to remain present with our pain, it can go through its natural bell-curve cycle—arising, peaking, and fading away. As it says in the Bible, “This too shall pass.” Or as the Buddha said, all emotions are “liable to destruction, to evanescence, to fading away, to cessation.” Painful feelings are, by their very nature, temporary. They will weaken over time as long as we don’t prolong or amplify them through resistance or avoidance. The only way to eventually free ourselves from debilitating pain, therefore, is to be with it as it is. The only way out is through. We need to bravely turn toward our suffering, comforting ourselves in the process, so that time can work its healing magic.

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