I have been pondering recently about the effect on all of us, of the unprecedented amount of news coming our way now that most of us have access the internet. Never before in human history has there been such an amount of information about what is going on ‘out there’ in the world.
What is going ‘wrong’ is largely what we hear about. All this knowledge is weighty to carry around, to be given information so regularly of such suffering happening around the world, the wars and bombings, the famines and diseases, homelessness and poverty, cruelty to humans and animals…the environment, the list goes on. I find it overwhelming at times. Even if it isn’t our own personal suffering, we feel it. More than ever before we need to learn to feel compassion for ourselves and for us all.
Learning self compassion is something that we can all easily do. Here are a few ways that have helped me to make self compassion a new habit in my life.
- Put your hand gently over your heart area and feel a sense of caring for yourself
- Practise saying the phrase, “May I be happy, May I be well, May I be at ease, May I be free from suffering”. This can feel odd at first but by repeating this phrase, we learn to become familiar with generating goodwill towards ourselves.
- Give yourself a hug-yes literally. I do this quite often and it feels comforting.
- Be aware of self critical thoughts as soon as they arrive, and let them go before they take hold. I gave mine the name of ‘Inner Critic’ and that helped me to recognise them. Now I can say ‘Hello Ms Inner Critic’ I hear you, but not right now thanks’.
- Remember that you are not alone in your suffering. Feeling isolated in our suffering only adds to it, so remember that many others are also suffering right now, and we all deserve compassion.
As I have become more gentle and kinder and less critical with myself I am more gentle with others too, and my new relationship with myself has directly reflected how I feel about others. This means that I am a better agent of compassion in the world and more able to help lift the burden of pain out there.
“This is a moment of suffering.
Suffering is part of life.
May I be kind to myself in this moment
May I give myself the compassion I need”