The Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook - A Proven Way to Accept Yourself, Build Inner Strength, and Thrive
How much do I want to read more? 7/10
Interesting concept. One of the author was as panicked as I am in public speaking.
So, self-compassion comes from Buddhism.
We probably don't realize how harmful our self-talk can be. Our cluture asks us to be kind to others. But the deal is to be kind to ourselves first.
the wisdom of East and West is merging. This convergence is unprecedented in human history. We are therefore deeply grateful for luminaries who had the courage and vision to build these bridges, such as the Dalai Lama, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Sharon Salzberg, Jack Kornfield, Richie Davidson, Sara Lazar, Tania Singer, Pema Chödrön, Thupten Jinpa, Tara Brach, Daniel Siegel, Rick Hanson, and Paul Gilbert… Their efforts have paved the way for our own—bringing self-compassion training into mainstream society.
Introduction: How to Approach This Workbook
Our task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.
We have all built barriers to love. We’ve had to in order to protect ourselves from the harsh realities of living a human life.
But there is another way to feel safe and protected. When we are mindful of our struggles, and respond to ourselves with compassion, kindness, and support in times of difficulty, things start to change.
In the blink of an eye we can go from “I don’t like this feeling” to “I don’t want this feeling” to “I shouldn’t have this feeling” to “Something is wrong with me for having this feeling” to “I’m bad!”
Self-compassion emerges from the heart of mind- fulness when we meet suffering in our lives.
Self-compassion adds, “be kind to yourself in the midst of suffering.” Together, mindfulness and self-compassion form a state of warmhearted, con- nected presence during difficult moments in our lives.
(MSC) was the first training program specifically designed to enhance a person’s self-compassion.
My initial reaction was “What? You mean I’m allowed to be kind to myself? Isn’t that selfish?”
I learned to be a good, supportive friend to myself when I struggled. When I started to be kinder to and less judgmental of myself, my life transformed.
I began to learn about some of the downsides of the self- esteem movement. Though it’s beneficial to feel good about ourselves, the need to be “special and above average” was being shown to lead to narcissism, constant com- parisons with others, ego-defensive anger, prejudice, and so on.
The other limitation of self-esteem: it’s there for us in times of success but often deserts us in times of failure.
I realized that self-compassion was the perfect alternative to self-esteem because it offered a sense of self-worth that didn’t require being perfect or better than others.
Because of the intense sensory issues experienced by children with autism, they are prone to violent tantrums.
When my son screamed and flailed away in the grocery store for no discernible reason, and strangers gave me nasty looks because they thought I wasn’t disciplining my child properly, I would practice self-compassion. I would comfort myself for feeling confused, ashamed, stressed, and helpless, providing myself the emotional support I desperately needed in the moment.
Self-compassion helped me steer clear of anger and self-pity, allow- ing me to remain patient and loving toward Rowan despite the feelings of stress and despair that would inevitably arise.
I suffered from terrible pub- lic speaking anxiety.
before any public talk my heart would pound, my hands began to sweat, and I found it impos- sible to think clearly.
a very experienced meditation teacher advised me to shift the focus of my meditation to loving-kindness, and to simply repeat phrases such as “May I be safe,” “May I be happy,” “May I be healthy,” “May I live with ease.”
In spite of all the years I’d been meditating and reflecting on my inner life as a psychologist, I’d never spoken to myself in a tender, comforting way.
When I was called to the podium to speak, the typical dread rose up in the usual way.
But this time there was something new—a faint background whisper saying, “May you be safe. May you be happy . . .” In that moment, for the first time, something rose up and took the place of fear—self-compassion.
public speaking anxiety isn’t an anxiety disorder after all—it’s a shame disorder—and the shame was just too overwhelming to bear.
Imagine being unable to speak about the topic of mindfulness due to anxiety! I felt like a fraud, incompe- tent, and a bit stupid.
What I discovered on that fateful day was that sometimes— especially when we’re engulfed in intense emotions like shame—we need to hold ourselves before we can hold our moment-to-moment experience.
In 2009, I published The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion. The following year, Kristin published Self-Compassion, which told her personal story.
Together we held the first public MSC program in 2010.
HOW TO USE THIS WORKBOOK
A rough guideline would be to practice about 30 minutes a day and to do about one or two chapters per week.
- MSC is an adventure. approach this workbook as an experiment in self-discovery and self-transformation.
- tailor and adapt in a way that works for you.
- tough spots will show up: difficult emotions or painful self-judgments
- the goal is to find a way to practice that’s pleasant and easy. less stress, less striving, and less work, not more.
- It is good to be a “slow learner.”
- opening and clos- ing. Just as our lungs expand and contract, our hearts and minds also naturally open and close. It is self-compassionate to allow ourselves to close when needed and to open up again when that natu- rally happens. Signs of opening might be laughter, tears, or more vivid thoughts and sensations. Signs of closing might be distraction, sleepiness, annoyance, numbness, or self-criticism.
The quintessential self-compassion question is “What do I need?” This theme will be carried throughout the book.
1- What Is Self-Compassion?
Through self-compassion we become an inner ally instead of an inner enemy.
Western culture places great emphasis on being kind to our friends. Not so when it comes to ourselves. Self-compassion is a practice in which we learn to be a good friend to ourselves when we need it most.
Imagine that your best friend calls you after she just got dumped by her partner.
“How are you?”
“Terrible, You know that guy Michael I’ve been dating? Well, he’s the first man I’ve been really excited about since my divorce. Last night he told me that I was putting too much pressure on him and that he just wants to be friends. I’m devastated.”
“Well, to be perfectly honest, it’s probably because you’re old, ugly, and boring, not to mention needy and dependent. And you’re at least 20 pounds overweight. I’d just give up now, because there’s really no hope of finding anyone who will ever love you. I mean, frankly you don’t deserve it!”
Would you ever talk this way to someone you cared about? Of course not. But strangely, this is precisely the type of thing we say to ourselves in such situations—or worse.
With self-compassion, we learn to speak to ourselves like a good friend.