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  • Today’s a great day to get started.

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         Today is a good day to start showing yourself more kindness. It’s a wonderful time of year to stand up for yourself and claim your right to enjoy all of the caring, friendly, compassionate qualities you regular share with others. There is no better time to get started than now. It may require starting by taking the very smallest step possible but I assure you, with practice you will reap the rewards that naturally follow any act of self-caring. It’s ok to question how or why to get started, but that can produce a whole stack of obstacles for some. Instead, start by asking  new questions:
    • I wonder what my life will look like when I become a better friend to myself?
    • What kind of positive shifts will I experience?
    • How would my current relationships change or improve if I showed myself more self-compassion?
    Once you’ve reflected on those questions, the next step may be to start working with a few affirmations:
    • I treat myself with care and compassion, especially when I’m struggling.
    • I’m no better and no worse than anyone else.
    • As I strengthen my ability to be on my own side, life gets brighter for me.
         Another powerful practice is to envision standing up for yourself and being self-compassionate. Here’s a simple guided meditation to give you a starting point. Find a comfortable seated position. You can also practice this as you fall asleep at night. Studies have shown that what we think about during the 15 minutes before we fall asleep has a powerful long term effect on our overall health and wellness. Turn your attention to your breath. Inhaling and exhaling through the nose. Nothing fancy, just noticing the breath enter and exit. Your belly fills on the inhale and empties on the exhale. Let your eyes be soft (an eye pillow is a great investment) and bring to mind a time when you stood up for someone. It might be as recently as yesterday. Or perhaps it’s a distant memory of standing up to the school bully on behalf of a classmate. Have you ever used your voice to speak kind words or your hands to help a friend? Call up as many details as possible.
         Visualize that moment in your mind’s eye. Try to imagine how you stood, exactly what you said, what was the look in your eyes? What feelings might have welled up in your heart? How important is it to protect and stand up for your closest friends/family? What feelings and values can you feel alive inside of you when you bring this image to mind? Once you have a vivid memory of what you look like, how you feel and what you’re thinking, hold it in your mind. Now, see if you can imagine applying this kindness, strength, loyalty, compassion (and whatever other inner resources describe you when you are showing compassion for someone else) to yourself. Imagine what it would feel like to have you at your very kindest, showing up on the scene when you, at your very lowest, could use a friend the most.
         Pause here to experience every detail in your imagination. Take a few more deep breaths as you imagine yourself walking away from the scene. In your mind’s eye, pause, look over your shoulder and take one more moment to seal this image of yourself being kind to yourself.
         Give yourself the time and space to work with this visualization. A few minutes a few times a week would be a good starting point. www.self-compassion.org has a wide variety of resources. The next time you find yourself passing time on the internet, hop over there for a minute and take a look. Today’s a great day to get started!

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