For someone to develop genuine compassion towards others,
first he or she must have a basis upon which to cultivate compassion,
and that basis is the ability to connect to one’s own feelings
and to care for one’s own welfare…
Caring for others requires caring for oneself.“
– Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama –
WHAT IS MINDFUL SELF-COMPASSION?
It is the practice of repeatedly bringing good will toward ourselves especially when we are suffering—developing the same desire that we all have to live happily and free from suffering.
Most of us feel compassion when a close friend is struggling. What would it be like to receive the same caring attention whenever you needed it most? All that is needed is a shift in the direction of our attention—recognising that as a human being, you too, are deserving of compassion.
The three key components of self-compassion are:
Self-Kindness – treating yourself like you would a dear friend
Self-compassion means being warm and understanding toward ourselves when we suffer, fail, or feel inadequate, rather than ignoring our pain or beating ourselves up with self-criticism.
Common Humanity – everyone suffers, you are not alone
Self-compassion involves recognizing that suffering and personal inadequacy is part of our shared human experience – something that we all go through rather than being something that happens to “me” alone.
Mindfulness – seeing clearly what needs soothing
Self-compassion also requires taking a balanced approach to our negative emotions so that feelings are neither suppressed nor exaggerated. Mindfulness is a non-judgmental, receptive mind state in which one observes thoughts and feelings as they are, without trying to suppress or deny them.
Kindness opens our hearts to suffering, so we can give ourselves what we need. Common humanity opens us to our essential interrelatedness, so that we know we aren’t alone. Mindfulness opens us to the present moment, so we can accept our experience with greater ease. Together they comprise a state of warm-hearted, connected presence.
Self-compassion can be learned by anyone, even those who didn’t receive enough affection in childhood or who feel uncomfortable when they are good to themselves. It’s a courageous attitude that stands up to harm, including the harm that we unwittingly inflict on ourselves through self-criticism, self- isolation, or self-absorption. Self-compassion provides emotional strength and resilience, allowing us to admit our shortcomings, motivate ourselves with kindness, forgive ourselves when needed, relate wholeheartedly to others, and be more authentically ourselves.
Does it work?
Rapidly expanding research demonstrates that self-compassion is strongly associated with emotional wellbeing, less anxiety, depression and stress, maintenance of healthy habits such as diet and exercise, and satisfying personal relationships.
MINDFUL SELF COMPASSION COURSE
See details on course page here
MINDFUL SELF-COMPASSION (MSC) is an empirically-supported 8-week training program designed to cultivate the skill of self-compassion. Based on the groundbreaking research of Kristin Neff and the clinical expertise of Christopher Germer, MSC teaches core principles and practices that enable participants to respond to difficult moments in their lives with kindness, care and understanding.
What To Expect
Program activities include meditation, short talks, experiential exercises, group discussion and home practices. MSC is a workshop rather than a retreat. The goal is for participants to directly experience self-compassion and learn practices that evoke self-compassion in daily life.
MSC is primarily a compassion training program rather than mindfulness training like Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), although mindfulness is the foundation of self-compassion.
The MSC course is therapeutic but not therapy.
Its emphasis is on building emotional resources rather than addressing old wounds. Positive change occurs naturally as we develop the capacity to be with ourselves in a kinder, more compassionate way. It is said “love reveals everything unlike itself.” While some difficult emotions may arise when practicing self-compassion, MSC teachers are committed to providing a safe, supportive environment for this process to unfold, and to making the journey interesting and enjoyable for everyone.
MSC includes a pre-course session (1.5h), 8 weekly sessions of 2.5 hours each and a 4-hour practice day towards the end of the course. Prior to registering, participants should plan to attend every session (or at least 6 sessions) and practice mindfulness and self-compassion at least 30 minutes per day throughout the program.
What do you learn?
- How to stop being so hard on yourself
- Practice self-compassion in daily life
- Motivate yourself with kindness rather than criticism
- Handle difficult emotions with greater ease
- Transform challenging relationships, old and new
- Manage caregiver fatigue
- Practice the art of savoring and self-appreciation
- The theory and research behind mindful self-compassion
- How to become your own best teacher
Where can I find out more about MSC?
Visit the Centre for Mindful Self Compassion to learn more about MSC.
You may find it helpful to read one or both of following books before or during the course:
- Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself, by Kristin Neff
- The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion, by Christopher Germer