Hello everyone, and welcome back once more to the Therapy Spot. The beginning of the new year is always a time of reflection for me. As I reflect, I’ve found myself asking: How can it already be 2018? The years seem to come and go almost as quickly as the days and weeks.
That means it’s more important than ever to slow down — hit pause — reflect. Since 2018 is the Year of Self Compassion, I want to talk about slowing down. How do you do it, and what does it do for you? Let’s find out.
Curating Your Self Compassion Playlist
Have you ever noticed how much easier it is to remember the traumatic and dramatic moments of our lives? Let’s try something new. I want you to focus instead on moments of contentment and ease. Moments where you felt calm and positive. All too often, those moments slide right out of our memories. Let’s preserve them by creating a “Self Compassion Playlist.” You can think of it as your “Greatest Hits.”
Whenever you catch yourself in a moment of contentment, write down what you are doing. Create a list of these positives and happy places in your phone. (You might also consider using Pinterest, if you’re more of a visual person!) Review it when you want to feel good or self-soothe.
- Walking in the sunshine
- Listening to music from your college years and singing out loud
- Trying a new vegetarian restaurant
- Planning your next travel adventure
When dark emotions strike, or life gets hard, we need some positivity to show up in our lives. That’s where the Self Compassion playlist comes in! Let it serve as your “to-do” list when you need some TLC (tender loving care).
My Self Compassion Journey
I certainly could have used my own Self Compassion playlist on my most recent trip back to Sweden. Now, I’ve made this journey almost more times than I can count. Believe me when I say that I have a whole method down to almost a science! But even though I have the structure down, I forgot about the emotional aspect of this journey.
Five days after my long journey, I noticed my sad emotions. I knew I needed some TLC.
You see, when I make this big transition, I put my manager parts to work. My planning part plans out the whole first week back. My organizer part knows exactly when I need to go to sleep and wake up to adjust to the new time zone.
Inside me, it looks like a movie set: a whole team of manager parts getting everything into place for the first shoot. After the first week back, my manager parts all high-fived each other, celebrating and laughing. We did it! Perfect! Ten out of ten!
You know what comes next, don’t you?
Burnout. With exhausted manager parts, emotional parts of me became more visible. That’s how I knew it was time for me to practice a Self Compassion meditation. The next morning, I spent time connecting with the emotions I had ignored.
I found deep sadness and grief for what I had left behind. I had hidden these emotions from everyone — even myself.
Better Inside and Out
When I sat quietly and sent myself compassion, I got better connected with what was happening inside of me. After all, those things influenced how I showed up.
How do you show up in the world when you feel deep sadness and grief? Many of us show up more brittle, and more critical than we would normally. That’s certainly how I showed up as my week went on and I grew more and more exhausted.
By practicing Self Compassion, I could relax and feel the sadness and loss of saying goodbye and moving on. As I sat quietly, I felt and welcomed my sadness. Then, having been welcomed, I felt the sadness move through me — leaving me more loving, less critical, less brittle.
This made me happy because I want to show up as loving as possible in my life. I want that for you, too! I want you to find a way to show up less brittle, less negative, and less critical in your lives.
Self Compassion Is Timeless
Self Compassion is a timeless practice. Guess what the Buddha was quoted as saying around 2600 years ago?
“You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”
From Kristen Neff to Richard Schwartz, Christoper K. Germer to Jay Earley, modern therapists and researchers agree. We all need to practice Self Compassion. All of their books I have linked to, as well as my own, can help you get started on the path to Self Compassion through IFS.
This week, I end my podcast with a Self Compassion meditation for you. Through this practice, you will gain awareness of the reservoir of natural compassion that flows within you. I plan to practice this meditation every day this month. I hope you will do the same.
With daily practice, the experience will change throughout the month, giving you something different every time. Please, check in with me in the near future and tell me your experiences! After all, I can learn from you just as you have (hopefully) learned from me.
You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or, if you prefer, message me through the Better Relating page on Facebook.
I am so glad we’ve taken the first step on our journey together. Use your Self Compassion playlist and practice your daily meditation. Remember: “We don’t have to try harder. We need to try softer.”
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“Redphones” by Flickr user Garry Knight, licensed under CC BY 2.0.