Want More Self-Compassion?
How hard are you on yourself?
What have you achieved in your life? Think about some of your best accomplishments….
What have you celebrated?
What have you really, deeply felt good about? When have you just said, “I am doing ok.”
Most of us are quick to judge, quick to critique, quick to self-doubt.
We may accomplish something that others notice and we deny the value, importance, or quality of our work. We see the flaws. We only see the flaws.
It’s tiring. It depletes our energy and overtime, we begin to believe that we just aren’t ever good enough. For some of us, the spiral into self-abuse can be devastating to our self-worth, even affect our families, work output, and health.
Want to feel better in minutes? Pema Chodron has the solution from thousands of years of teachings and I want to pass it on to you.
“We act out because, ironically, we think it will bring us some relief. We equate it with happiness. Often there is some relief, for the moment….You might feel pretty good for a while, but somehow the sense of righteous indignation and hatred grows, and it hurts you.”
— Pema Chodron, Start Where You Are
When you are triggered by something or someone you will want to do one of two things: 1) shut down — the feeling is too much, so you repress it; 2) Act out — the feeling is too much, so you act out in anger.
- Practice Shathavipashyana. Don’t ask me to pronounce it, but I can explain it. 🙂 Essentially, we don’t want to repress our feelings and we don’t want to act out. We want to begin to notice the storyline we tell in the moment we are triggered. Underneath this story of self-loathing or anger lies the real feeling: the wound.
- Once we have practiced letting the storyline go and we can see the pain underneath, practice Tonglen, described in the following steps. You will notice a change in your emotional state in moments.
- Notice the moment you are triggered and remain open.
- Then, as Pema states, “You visualize breathing in dark, heavy, and hot and breathing out white, light, and cool.” The trigger creates a heavy, hot, dark sensation. We instinctively want to repress feeling the negative emotion or create a storyline and then expel that emotion through acting out. To avoid either option and rid yourself of the pain you are experiencing for real, try this. If you try it, you will find immediate relief.
- Or when you are not triggered, visualize the person or thing that brings you the most pain. This tends to be a loved one as they can trigger our deeper wounds. Think of that person or object and then breath in the pain, darkness, heaviness that the person brings in your life, then breathe out compassion towards that person. After a few breaths, remove the object of your anger and just breathe the anger in and out. The object of your anger is helpful to create the emotion in your body, so you can learn the technique. I can’t express how important this step is because to learn how to sit with an emotion, to learn how to breathe into a negative emotion is the key to ending suffering.
How does this solve the issue of self-compassion? Simple: we remove our own suffering when we remove the anger within.
Think about it. When you are angered by someone or something and you either push the anger deep within or act out in a moment of rage and you believe you move on with your day. But do you?
We never move on. We tell our story. We tell it and tell it until we are choking on our own poison. The person may be the object of your anger, but now you are just angry.
The person is gone. You have anger in your body by repressing it or keeping it alive by telling your righteous story over and over. Or worse, you acted out and you start to self-loath.
Emotions are tricky. They are elusive. But they are not new and over the millennia the best minds have offered solutions to navigate the landscape of our emotional lives. With a little effort, you can ease the pain, reduce the suffering, and live life freer, happier, and more alive.
As always, let me know if this helps, tell me your story, or send me a note.
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