Self-Compassion Meditation

I’m currently in the middle of a 12-week mindfulness course. You’ll hear more about why I’m in this course in another post. For now, just know that I’m in the class.

A wall in Austin, TX

This week, a part of our homework is to practice a self-compassion meditation. Accepting compassion as “a desire to alleviate another’s suffering,” self-compassion is a true desire to alleviate one’s own suffering. Suffering is also very broad…it can be everything from mild discomfort to the most incredible emotional or physical pain. For the work of the meditation, we are asked to be mindful of compassion that we can feel toward others and to slowly realize some compassion for ourselves, too.

Right now, it’s much easier for me to contemplate compassion for someone I know who is suffering in some way. The desire to alleviate emotional or physical pain for someone I care about comes much more quickly than a desire to alleviate my own turmoils. In fact, it’s easier for me to feel compassion even for the difficult people in my life before applying it to myself.

Some of the phrases used in the mediation are:

May you/I be kind to myself.

May you/I accept myself as I am.

May you/I feel at ease.

These are so simple when I’m wishing these things for my husband, an old friend, or an acquaintance. But even after settling into the exercise and repeating these phrases directed at me, there’s a little voice in the back of my head that says “yeah, but…” or “you don’t really believe that for yourself.” All themes for how my mind talks to itself. All things for me to be aware of, listening for, and naming when they come up throughout the day.

Some links on self-compassion:

Work by Chris Germer

Some related meditations from Kristin Neff