opening heart

I love this exercise from Steve Flowers and Bob Stahl in “Living with Your Heart Wide Open”. This is a book I’d also recommend for those of you who would like to cultivate more mindfulness and compassion in your lives, while freeing yourselves from unworthiness, inadequacy and shame.

“Be gentle with yourself. Be kind to yourself. You may not be perfect, but you are all you’ve got to work with. The process of becoming who you will be begins first with the total acceptance of who you are.”

~ Bhante Henepola Gunaratana

Self Compassion Exercise:

If you met with a friend and she confided in you that she felt completely worthless and ashamed, how would you try to comfort her? What would you tell her to so the her troubled heart? In what other ways would you express your loving kindness and compassion?

Take a few minutes to reflect on this and journal about what you would say.

Now consider some ways you too have felt sad and unhappy, and offer words of compassion that are similar to what you would share with a friend.

Notice what happens in your body and mind as your offer this kindness to yourself. Pay attention to what comes up for you physically, mentally, emotionally. Turn towards your own aching heart and perhaps place your hand on your chest, and then acknowledge to yourself “I care for this suffering.” Feel deeply into this and inquire into the attitude you would have towards your friend or loved one….

Breathe into the tight places in your body, inviting a little more tension to release with each exhalation. Be tender and caring, even toward whatever comments arise from your internal critic…. From time to time, repeat to yourself “I care for this suffering.”

Let your heart widen like a ripe pomegranate widens – so filled with caring and compassion it actually bursts out of its shell.


29 comments on “Accepting Who You Are

  1. Reblogged this on Unbreakable JOY and commented:
    Kindness Challenger, Here is a blog post with an exercise related to self-compassion. Be good to yourself, give it a try…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you Julia for the re-blog and kind words. I appreciate it 💛


    • Self love is not as easy as it sounds but if you cannot accept and love yourself how can anyone else. It took a look time for me to accept myself and this exercise will definitely help. Thanks for sharing

      Liked by 2 people

  2. This is so great to exercise Val and I felt a need too, while I read your post. It is often more easy to care for others, than caring for oneself.
    Thank you for this reminder ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Impeccable timing Val. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Funny I never thought of it that way 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Reena Davis

    This is great. Thanks for sharing it Val💛

    Liked by 1 person

  6. More than once I have said to (online) fellow bloggers to “be Kind to yourself. You’re doing a wonderful job in coping and most people would have been less so in the same situation”.
    Self-kindness is hard when one has feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt. But to me those feelings are usually felt when others have been critical and lacking in understanding and have passed on what they themselves feel in their deepest hearts, not what you actually are in reality.
    Sometimes it takes a life-changing moment or event to make you feel worthwhile as a member of society and confident in your strength to help both yourself and others.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Vicki for sharing your insight here 💛. I agree, feelings of inadequacy are often rooted in the past, especiay if we were surrounded by critica people (often passing on a the trait from generation to generation). Some people see the light when they go through a major change or challenge, others choose to bring awareness to this as part of their continued growth as human beings. xoxo


  7. We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same. ~ Carlos Castaneda

    Liked by 1 person

    • Interesting how he chose the words “miserable” and “strong”. I’ve known many strong yet still miserable people!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I interpret it as “strong” like a pomegranate ~> Let your heart widen like a ripe pomegranate widens – so filled with caring and compassion it actually bursts out of its shell.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Nashra Usmani

    I believe in the same concept; if you would be kind and gentle to a friend when they are suffering, then why not be kind and gentle to yourself in your suffering as well? I’m sure your friend would be. Thanks for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you, Val.That’s a great exercise and so true.We don’t have enough compassion for ourselves! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I feel better already…thank you! xo What a great exercise!


  11. Thank you for sharing this – very timely. It felt really good to give myself some compassion.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Thank you for this compassionate exercise, Val! Will definitely do it today ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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