self compassion

Emotional resistance – an extract from the book Self Compassion by Kristin Neff. 

One kind word can change someone’s entire day.

Anonymous

One kind word can change your day. Many kind words can provide the emotional resistance that can set you free. Kristin Neff speaks to your heart through each chapter of the book “Self Compassion”, creating a tool kit for many of the life challenges we face today. Kristin believes self compassion has the power to radically transform lives! It doesn’t eradicate the pain, but if you embrace the pain it allows you to transform on your own. Through self compassion we discover the wisdom of true acceptance of what is. 

Research shows the people who are more self compassionate 

  • are significantly less anxious 
  • are significantly less likely to develop depression 
  • have more perspective on their problems and are less likely to feel isolated by them
  • are more willing to experience unwanted emotions and have better emotional skills 
  • acknowledge their emotions are valid and important but do not become consumed by them
  • have lower cortisol levels 

 “Love your suffering. Do not resist it, do not flee from it. It is only your aversion to it that hurts, nothing else.”

Hermann Hesse

Our happiness is not dependant on experiences or what we expect them to be. Happiness stems from loving ourselves and our lives exactly as they are. Knowing that joy and pain, strength and weakness, glory and failure are essential to the full experience of life. When we feel flawed and incapable of handling the things that life throws us, we shut down emotionally and magnetise to fear and can only see the doom and gloom and things go down from there. 

To free yourself from the negativity:

  • Give yourself self compassion. This towers over negative emotions 
  • When you don’t judge your feelings and really pay attention to them and see that they are thoughts and emotions – not necessarily reality – you can deal with whatever comes your way 
  • Be aware of emotions in the body, where they present in the physical will allow you to stay in tune with them. By staying anchored, grounded, and present you can be here and now and watch the storm pass over — see what arises in the present moment but not get caught up in it 
  • Affirm – ‘Every day in every way I am getting better and better”
  • When you notice something you don’t like about yourself, when something goes wrong and you’re in distress, silently repeat the following “This is a moment of suffering. Suffering is part of life, may I be kind to myself this moment, may I give myself the compassion I need”. 
  • Paul Gilbert author of The Compassionate Mind has a program that helps people with severe shame and self-judgement to understand the harm they do to themselves 

Use the soften, soothe, allow method 

  • SOFTEN Compassion stops the mental recrimination
  • SOOTHE “How can I comfort myself right now?”
  • ALLOW Feeling it all, the safety of self compassion it isn’t as scary to know you will be supported

‘It’s easier to open up to yourself when you can trust that your pain will be held in compassionate awareness. The beauty of self compassion that is instead of replacing negative feelings with positive ones, new positive emotions are generated by embracing the negative ones. The positive emotions of care and connectedness are felt alongside our painful feelings.

Kristin Neff

People are often afraid to become compassionate towards themselves as they worry they will become weak, rejected or feel inadequate. When you remember to be self compassionate, you acknowledge life may suck, but you don’t make it worse by being consumed with all the negativity. You can deal with whatever challenges life throws your way feeling the full range of emotions to bring you back to being whole. 

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