Be Kinder Toward Yourself and Others – Using Self-Compassion as Motivation

Looking for motivation to jump-start your mindfulness practice this fall?  Try self-compassion.  On the face of it, self-compassion might seem like the ultimate in selfishness, especially in a culture that is constantly shouting at us to do more and be better.

On the contrary, practicing self-compassion is the the fastest way to fostor more compassion for others.  Mindfulness meditation helps us to rest in the arms of self-compassion.  On an emotinal level practicing self-compassion – taking time out to do nothing but breathe and realign the nervous system – may be so radical that it brings tears to the eyes.  I experienced a burst of self-compassion in yoga class today, when the instructor asked us to be still and focus on our breath, I not only thought about my own crazy-busyness, but of the tenderness of my nervous little nine-year-old, and how he is navigating his new school year with such courage.  My heart burst with compassion not only for myself, but for him.   There was nothing selfish about me attending that yoga class this morning, returning home a more loving mom.

“Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the stars; you have the right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.” – Desiderata

This September we all have a choice to make.  Do we schedule ourselves and our families so tightly that there is no time to breathe?  Or do we make time for mindfulness, which will allow us to foster tenderness for ourselves and others?

To answer this question you might ask another:  What is the most important thing to do in this moment?  Run another errand?  Make another list?  Sit and breathe?  What will my life look like a month from know based on these choices?

Choose mindfulness as much as you can, life will magically fall into place.

We wish you twenty minutes of mindfulness every day!

For more on compassion and mindfulness, use the search button at the top of the page.

check out this video from Kristen Neff for a quick self-compassion lesson.


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  • You posted this at a perfect time! I’ve been trying to make a lot of life changes at once; a lot of life changes are happening anyway. An old friend visited from out of town last night and she noticed that I kept saying negative things about myself (‘I can’t lose weight no matter how I try; I’m acting like an idiot; etc.’). I think these little mindfulness breaks during my day would really help me to support myself through changes. Rather than the mental lashings I’ve been inflicting lately, I’d like to support myself through change and offer some congratulations for what I’ve faced with strength and poise! Love you, Donna.

    • Hi Kayleigh: First thing after waking each morning this week, take a few deep breaths, then list three recent accomplishments – even small ones. “Trying to make a lot of life changes at once” – That is not showing yourself compassion! How about trying one a week over the next month?

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