– why you chose this topic
– how your belly, chest, and head each feel when you reflect on this topic
– the emotions that you can associate with these visceral feelings
– the positive or negative impact of any stories you believe in regarding this topic
– the consoling/humbling/inspiring fact that many others are feeling similarly about this topic as you
– how you will feel with increased awareness around this topic
– when you can apply increased mindfulness to this topic in your day-to-day life
When it comes to our mindfulness practice, we’re often all too focused on external goals. We think of mindfulness exercises as a way to improve our ability to handle the stresses of everyday life. Perhaps we use meditation as a means of cultivating greater presence and awareness, in the hopes that it will help us to improve our relationships with family members, friends, and co-workers.
While all of these are worthwhile and noble goals to have, it’s easy to neglect our own needs at the same time. Developing compassion for those around us is important, of course. But, we can’t forget to develop the same sort of compassion for ourselves. Our practice shouldn’t be limited to our relationships with the people and things around us: it also needs to improve our relationship with ourselves, too.
When we talk about self-advocacy, we’re referring to the idea that you advocate for your own needs. In other words, the idea is to treat yourself as though you’re just as worthwhile as any other person. Once you begin to advocate for yourself, you’ll likely find it easier to expect others to treat you with the same sort of respect that you afford yourself.
On the one hand, our culture seems to promote self-esteem and self-worth. On the other, though, we find our society promoting interests that can be quite damaging to the individual. While caring for others and having compassion for all beings is a noble goal, we can’t do this at the expense of our own wellbeing.
In this mindfulness exercise, you’ll learn to bring the compassion that you feel for others to bear on yourself as well. By the end of the exercise, you’ll settle into these feelings of loving-kindness and begin to direct them inwards.
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Sean Fargo is the Founder of Mindfulness Exercises, a former Buddhist monk of 2 years, a trainer for the mindfulness program born at Google, an Integral Coach from New Ventures West, and an international mindfulness teacher trainer. He can be reached at [email protected]
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