In this self-compassion break exercise, Kristin Neff teaches us how to take a moment to offer ourselves compassion in the middle of a hectic day. Our tendency (when it comes to our mindfulness practice) is to develop compassion for others. But, are we developing enough compassion for ourselves?
Many forms of mindfulness exercises, meditative traditions, and schools of spirituality place great importance on the need to have compassion for other beings. This is particularly true of Buddhism (some schools and subjects more so than others).
There’s no question that having compassion for others is important. We spend much of our lives struggling with others, attempting to wrest control away from those around us. In the process, we put ourselves at odds with other people. In doing so, we make the mistake of failing to realize that all of us are one: we’re all here together on the same ship, and it’s impossible for any of us to succeed unless each and every one of us does.
Still, it’s just as easy to get caught up in these selfless motivations and forget to do something equally important: that is, to have compassion for ourselves. While we tend to think of ourselves as living in a society that promotes self-esteem, we often do a surprisingly poor job of advocating for ourselves and our own needs.
Taking a Self-Compassion Break
Fortunately, introducing self-compassion into your daily life doesn’t have to be complicated. In this free mindfulness exercise, Kristin Neff offers us a simple way to bring awareness and self-compassion into what otherwise might be a hectic and busy day.
To begin with, you’ll take a moment to consider a source of suffering that you’re currently experiencing. This can be large or small — either will accomplish the same purpose. Perhaps you’re having trouble in your relationship, or you’re experiencing stress related to your job. It’s best to choose something that doesn’t completely overwhelm you, particularly if this is your first time attempting to use this practice.
Once you’re in touch with the situation, you’ll learn how to apply self-compassion to the feelings you’re experiencing. Listen to the video on this page to get started.