“Altered Traits”: Science reveals how Meditation changes your mind, brain and body: loathing ourselves



Years after her return from India, Sharon (Salzberg) was a panelist in a dialogue with the Dalai Lama in 1989, for which Dan (Goleman) was moderator.


At one point Sharon told the Dalai Lama that many Westerners felt loathing toward themselves.



He was astonished—he’d never heard of this.



He had, the Dalai Lama replied, always assumed that people naturally loved themselves.



Yet in English the word compassion, the Dalai Lama pointed out, signifies the wish that others be well—but it does not include oneself.



He explained that in his own language, Tibetan, as well as in the classical tongues Pali and Sanskrit, the word compassion implies feeling this for oneself as well as others.



English, he added, needs a new word, self-compassion. That very term came into the world of psychology more than a decade later when Kristin Neff, a psychologist at the University of Texas at Austin, published her research on a measure of self-compassion.



In her definition this includes being kind to yourself instead of self-critical; seeing your failures and mistakes as just part of the human condition rather than some personal failing; and just noting your imperfections, not ruminating about them.



The opposite of self-compassion can be seen in the constant self-criticism common, for example, in depressed ways of thinking.



Loving-kindness directed to yourself, on the other hand, would seem to offer a direct antidote.



An Israeli group tested this idea, and found that teaching loving-kindness to people particularly prone to self-criticism both lessened those harsh thoughts and increased their self-compassion.



2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by chickenlittle2017 on March 27, 2018 at 4:11 pm


    Why do we allow our inner selves to be harmed by words or actions of others?

    People we care for can hurt us the worst.

    Maya Angelou said:

    “People won t remember what you say or do. They remember how you make them feel.”

  2. For me some of my inner selves are from childhood and those neural pathways are deep, subconscious and always around.

    We need to practice letting go and being present.

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