Self-Compassion

Be kind to yourself. Begin to love and approve of yourself.

 

You can develop a more caring attitude towards your pain –like that of the natural impulse of a mother to gather a child who is hurt into her arms and hold him or her tenderly. Even though she cannot remove the child’s pain, her loving response will ease his or her distress. Resistance to our suffering causes us to fall into secondary suffering. Reflect on the following table:

 

[1]PRIMARY SUFFERING

Pain and Suffering

Resistance

 

SECONDARY SUFFERING

Blocking

  • Hardening against unpleasant sensations
  • Restlessness
  • Inability to “stop”
  • Feeling driven
  • Addictions of all kinds
    • Food
    • Cigarettes
    • Alcohol
    • Recreational drugs
    • Excessive talking
    • Excessive working
  • Being emotionally brittle and edgy
  • Anxiety
  • Anger and irritability
  • Denial
  • Being “in head” not “in body”
  • Overly controlling

Drowning 

  • Feeling overwhelmed by unpleasant situations
  • Exhaustion
  • Physical inactivity leading to loss of function, weakening of muscles
  • Giving up
  • Lack of interest, vagueness
  • Being emotionally dull and passive
  • Depression
  • Self-pity and victim mentally
  • Tendency to catastrophize and loss of perspective
  • Dominated by physical experience
  • Loss of initiative
    • Withdrawal
    • Isolation

Reflect on the above. Take your time and be honest with yourself. Identify if you may be experiencing any of the secondary behaviours listed.

 

The RAIN process is a tool to help you develop self-compassion. As an InnerLifeSkills Master Coach I can assist you with this process too.

 

[2] The RAIN Process

 

R Recognise what’s going on

Responding with self-awareness in the moment; You can recognise what is going on by asking yourself: “What is happening inside me right now?”

  • What thoughts are running through my head? (what are you saying to yourself, what images are coming to mind)
  • What emotions am I feeling? ( neutral, upset, sad, mad, resentful, bitter, agitated, irritated, enraged…)
  • What body sensations am I experiencing? (physical sensations, tightness, holding, heaviness, aches, illness, exhaustion)
  • How connected do you feel to yourself?
  • How connected do you feel to the people around me?

Try to let go of any preconceived ideas and instead listen in a kind, receptive way to your body and heart, and bring awareness to whatever thoughts, emotions, feelings, or sensations are arising right here and now.

 

A Allow the experience to be there, just as it is

Allowing means letting the thoughts, emotions, feelings, or sensations you have recognised simply be there, without trying to judge, fix or avoid anything. You may feel a natural sense of aversion, of wishing that the unpleasant feelings would go away, but as you become more willing to be present with “what is,” a different quality of attention will emerge. Allowing is not about making yourself happy with what you are noticing, it’s a gentle acknowledgment that things are the way they are in this moment.

 

I Investigate with interest and care

Explore with a sense of curiosity, wonder, openness and willingness to learn from whatever life throws at you. Stand back from your challenges to get the bigger picture, the wider context. You might ask yourself: What most wants attention? How am I experiencing this in my body? What am I believing? What does this vulnerable place want from me? What does it most need? This attitude of care helps create a sufficient sense of safety, making it possible to honestly connect with our hurts, fears and shame.

 

N Nourish with Self-Compassion

Self-compassion begins to naturally arise in the moments that we recognise we are suffering. It comes into fullness as we intentionally nourish our inner life with self-care. To do this, try to sense what the wounded, frightened or hurting place inside you most needs, and then offer some gesture of active care that might address this need. Does it need a message of reassurance? Of forgiveness?  Of companionship?  Of love?  Experiment and see which intentional gesture of kindness most helps to comfort, soften or open your heart. It might be, “I’m here with you.” “I’m sorry, and I love you.” “It’s not your fault.”  “You belong.” ‘You are enough.”  “I am taking the next step for my healing.” “I acknowledge my own power.” “I always have a choice.”  “I create a world where it is safe to love eachother.” “I release the past with ease, and I trust the process of life”

[1] 2010 Vidyamala Burch, Living well with pain and illness

[2] The description above is adapted from Tara Brach’s The RAIN of Self-Compassion or Finding True Refuge.

About The Author

Lisa le Roux
Life and Business Coach

Lisa le Roux is the owner of Monarch Coaching and Consulting. The business is so named because a butterfly symbolises emergence, freedom, beauty and joyfulness. A monarch is somebody who possesses exceptional power or influence in an area of activity, or something that occupies a pre-eminent or predominant position. MY PURPOSE Inspiring the emergence of freedom, love and joyfulness in the lives of those I touch. MY VISION Inspiring others towards self-mastery and fulfillment of life purpose. MY MISSION Through purposeful coaching and facilitation true potential will emerge. MY VALUES Passion; Integrity; Fulfillment; Inner Harmony Coaching is the specialised art of holding solution focused conversations. As an InnerLifeSkills® Master Coach I support my coachee's to discover the answers, insights and resources they seek, from within themselves. In this way they are inspired to become internally referenced, solution orientated and pro-active. This frees them to be all they were born to be!

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