Issue 9 of Self-compassion
If someone in your family or among your friends is having a difficult time, has failed in some way or is too demanding towards him- or herself – then it is probably easy for you to have compassion for that person. You may take on a supporting role, in order to get them out of the self-accusations, help them find constructive solutions and make them move forward. Most of us have no difficulties in feeling for others when they are struggling with problems or when they encounter difficult life events.
It is often a little more uncomfortable when it comes to receive sympathy from others when we have a tough time ourselves. Still, you probably have memories and experiences of others being supportive in such situations.
But compassion for oneself is, also in global terms, the far most difficult issue for us humans. Try to think about how you react on the various aspects of compassion – compassion for the other, to receive others’ compassion and to have compassion for yourself.
Because of the difficulties in feeling self-compassion, this aspect has become one of the most active elements of a new therapy, created by Paul Gilbert, professor of Psychology in the UK. In his book Compassion Focused Therapy you can learn about his method,
Watch the 10 minutes YouTube clip "Talk Nicely to Yourself", in which Paul Gilbert explains how mental images of being kind to yourself stimulate the soothing system.
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Many of us have quite a critical attitude toward ourselves. Some of us might even address ourselves with a harsh, demanding voice inside, constantly reminding ourselves that we’re never good enough. Or telling ourselves "Now, pull yourself together!”.
These are the words we’d never ever say to anyone else, not even to our worst enemy. Are you one of us? Do you ever listen to the voice inside or to how it makes you feel? Self-criticism, researchers have found, can be as stressful as being criticized by someone else.
By practicing self-compassion, you can calm yourself down and cultivate a far more sustainable sense of well-being than the thrive for self-esteem. It does even make you perform better than motivating yourself with your inner critic.
The number of scientific papers on self-compassion has increased exponentially since 2003, when the research was initiated by professor Kristin Neff at the University of Texas. And since Kristin Neff and psychologist Christopher Germer established the program Mindful Self-compassion in 2010, it has spread all over the world. Starting this year, you can become a self-compassion teacher not only in English but in German, Spanish, Chinese and Korean.
In this e-mail course, you will meet these pioneers as a bonus along the way. Swedish author and journalist Agneta Lagercrantz, who has created the Daily Bits of Self-compassion, has interviewed them all: psychology professor Kristin Neff, psychologist and mindfulness instructor Christopher Germer, meditation teacher Tara Brach, MSC- (Mindful Self-compassion) teachers Christine Braehler, Michelle Becker and Steven Hackman. The course is based on Agneta Lagercrantz’s book Self-compassion (in Swedish) and her public talks on the subject.Subscribe now