Opening to Self Compassion

wait in gratitude

“Self-compassion is a way of relating to the ever-changing landscape of who we are with kindness and acceptance—especially when we fail or feel inadequate … Self-compassion requires acknowledging that we share the human condition of imperfection.”   ~ Kristen Neff

How many of us learned about this when we were young? … How many of us are teaching our children about this? …

In today’s culture, especially in America, there is so much emphasis on self confidence, competing to win and striving for what you want in life. Yet, so much of it is out of our control.

We all know that mistakes happen and we don’t all win the prize at the end of the day.

How do you cope with these natural downturns and disappointments that are a part of all life? And how can we prepare ourselves for the inevitable lows of life?

Two wonderful women come to mind who have guided me along the way.

Sara Neff and Tara Brach have so much wisdom and guidance on how we can come to a place of self love and acceptance as adults.

“In order to flower, self-compassion depends on honest, direct contact with our own vulnerability. Compassion fully blossoms when we actively offer care to ourselves. To help people address feelings of insecurity and unworthiness, I often introduce mindfulness and compassion through a meditation I call the RAIN of Self-Compassion. The acronym RAIN, first coined about 20 years ago by Michele McDonald, is an easy-to-remember tool for practicing mindfulness. It has four steps:

Recognize what is going on;
Allow the experience to be there, just as it is;
Investigate with kindness;
Natural awareness, which comes from not identifying with the experience.

You can take your time and explore RAIN as a stand-alone meditation or move through the steps in a more abbreviated way whenever challenging feelings arise.”

~ Tara Brach

I have spent many years helping others find self acceptance and connection to their inner being. However, one of the greatest tools I use, is not in our thinking mind at all.

The simplest way to allow compassion to flow and for the heart to open, is to sit quietly and place one or both hands above your heart center.

Take a moment and try it now.

This gesture activates a soothing response that we mammals have. It replicates the feeling of comfort, safety and nourishment at our mother’s breast. As babies we felt it. As children we received comfort from a motherly hug. Yet, we don’t need someone else to bring about the same physical and emotional response.

You can give yourself this gift at any time.

You can also place a hand on your belly and let the breath settle into the center of your being. When we breathe using the diaphragm, we activate the relaxation response in the para sympathetic nervous system. Anxiety abates as the brain releases comforting hormones.

Connect to your breath and allow the nurturing energy to flow.


25 thoughts on “Opening to Self Compassion

  1. Yes Val, that is a very beautiful energy. And as you say, it calms and balances so well. Like a band aid of love on tap 😀 ❤️ 🙏🏽 🦋
    Just a side note, if I can call it that. This generation of teachers are so concerned with giving all the children a prize and not upsetting them. They are creating their own doom. Most of this generation now coming through has absolutely no idea in how to handle failure or a loss, and they are becoming more and more selfish from those expectations they have been taught.
    There has been no balance and it will condemn another generation from the fears of others 😦
    Maybe they should be teaching your balance Val, to a generation that can heal the generation that went before ❤️ 🙏🏽 🦋

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you Mark for your kindness and sharing this perspective. 💛 It is a concern that the new generation may have become coddled…. and will look to others to blame rather than coming to terms with the natural lows of life. 💝🦋💕

      Liked by 2 people

  2. beautiful thoughts, Val. As parens, our time is better spent teaching character than how to win. And I placed my hands above my heart, and I’m not sure if it was just the motion of doing so, or thinking about why I was doing this, but it did seem to have a calming effect…


  3. “Compassion fully blossoms when we actively offer care to ourselves.” I love this line, Val. And I’ll teach my grandson the exercise of embracing his heart. What a lovely, easy way to express love. A lovely post. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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