The Many Paths to Self-Compassion from Living with your Heart Wide Open

Pixabay bhpsundra624


Investigating how you can cultivate self-compassion in your life involves an exploration of how you relate to your body, thoughts, and emotions, and also how you choose and maintain your relationships.

Considering how we can be more compassionate toward our bodies can help many of us see how very little compassion we have for ourselves and how hard we push ourselves physically.

You may find yourself answering yet another e-mail even though you’ve needed to use the bathroom for over an hour, or you may eat junk food from the nearest source just so you can get back to work sooner.

You may convince yourself that you don’t have time to exercise, or you may have a somewhat perverse sense of pride in how little sleep you get.

Paying attention to the many ways you mistreat your body can provide a great deal of insight into how you can begin practicing self-compassion right now—simply by reversing many of these habits. It’s the same with thoughts and emotions.

You can learn to witness unpleasant thoughts and emotions with self-compassion, and even come to feel a certain amount of compassion for the inner critic (which often helps calm this eternal source of self-criticism).

When you notice that you’re being hard on yourself for something like being late for an appointment, you can turn toward this self-criticism with a soft and kind acknowledgement, like “It’s only a mistake; I love you anyway.

If you notice that you’re ruminating on a feeling like guilt and saying things to yourself that are just making you feel more guilty, you can acknowledge this morbid indulgence; for example, you might say,

“This is just a guilt-fest” or “Will heaping on even more guilt really help me learn from this mistake?”

For most of us, learning to attend to our thoughts and emotions with this friendly kind of attention is a very different way of being in the world.



11 responses to this post.

  1. Oh my word, how much this post has resonated with me and you’ve just reminded me about how I need to cultivate self-compassion. Thank you, I needed this right now.

  2. Your not the only one

    Being abused seems to build strength in our inner critic

    Mine is a
    Complete ass

  3. Posted by rudid96 on September 5, 2020 at 3:55 pm

    I read today’s post with a huge sigh of relief. I hadn’t seen a post in a day or two and was devastated to think that this page was gone. These daily posts are among the most important cornerstones of my daily grounding and are the cairns on my healing journey. So grateful!
    Responding to today’s post;
    How does self-compassion come into play when we push ourselves to move beyond self-limiting trauma beliefs and behaviors? It would really easy to rest in all my self-created trauma beliefs and behaviors. After all, they’ve controlled much of my life under the guise of being self-compassionate. Today, I challenged myself to do the ‘nourishing opposite’ of a deep-seated fear of being stupid and not good enough. I offered to participate in a online committee. I’m terrified!! Is this self-compassionate or is this just more of me “forcing myself” meet another challenge?

  4. Mine is a pig! lol

  5. Thank you for your gratitude

    Only you will know if it is self compassion

    Nite by how you treat yourself no matter which path you choose I think

    I never thought of being a friend to my inner critic

    I tried to murder him

    Seems every time I resist it fight against pain or trauma it only grows

    “You can learn to witness unpleasant thoughts and emotions with self-compassion, and even come to feel a certain amount of compassion for the inner critic (which often helps calm this eternal source of self-criticism).”

    I think this is the path

    But have gratitude for your courage and ability to take action

    Failure is a judgment

    I failed for a king time trying to meditate and heal

    It was the daily effort that will make your joining a group finally work

    We need not win but we need to get up with good attitude and give all we have

    Then rest

    Results are way beyond our pay grade

    We only need to give all and be ok inside

    Others opinion damn sure do not follow us after death

  6. I like using a visualization especially when we identify with it

    Now use it to benefit yourself

  7. Me too and I get to go to some great places. I need to do some more visualisation and mindfulness 🙂

  8. I like the “guilt-fest” and to have more self compassion, great post thank you.

  9. Thanks

  10. We need a few good elders to help us wit this guilt syndrome. thanks for posting

  11. The mind can be programmed

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