In this writing I am following up on the last post related to self compassion and our immune system. It seems to be relevant for what we are dealing with right now in our world, and the stress that many of us are experiencing. This is a hap-hazard summary of a part of a talk by Dr. Kristin Neff on Self-Compassion. I will interject some of my thoughts at times, and I will redundantly say, (she says) until it becomes annoying. Dr. Neff asks the question, "How do we relate to ourselves when we are suffering"? Compassion implies that we are not suffering alone. In compassion we are extending ourselves to another, or they are extending themselves to us. I suspect that in self compassion we are extending ourselves to ourselves. If we are self compassionate, it is important to remind ourselves that others are having similar experiences as we are having, and it is important to remind ourselves that we are not alone in this suffering. She reminds us that everyone is imperfect and that we lead imperfect lives, this she says is an important component of self compassion. She states that often we don't even know we are suffering. I will add that we are often avoidant of painful emotions, and at times we are so busy doing things, that we don't even notice what is going on within us, and within our bodies. We can't be compassionate with ourselves if we don't know we are suffering. I know that many of us carry incredible tension in our bodies. Unfortunately our bodies can go for long periods of time, years, and even decades, being tense and contracted. We don't notice because we habitat to the discomfort. We may only notice when we begin to experience physical pain or some other issue from the chronic muscle contractions and inflammation. Even then we may not realize that our health related issue began from chronic stress, or chronic muscle contraction, or inflammation. She suggests that we ask questions like "How am I doing, and what do I need right now". She suggests that we have daily reminders to help us be aware of what is happening with ourselves. Again, if we want to be compassionate toward ourselves, we need to check in to see how we are doing. She says that for herself she has the habit of scanning her body to identify where she might be struggling, or resisting some painful emotion. She says sometimes she doesn't initially know what is upsetting to her. I can completely relate to her experience. It is a good idea to create a habit that helps remind us to "check in". This is much like we would do with a friend when we ask, How are you doing and want an honest answer? She makes the statement that, "The intention is not to make the pain go away, but to hold the painful experience in compassionate awareness, so that the injury or experience that causes us to suffer can heal. She talks of self compassion as being "kindness","caring" and "self support". She reminds us that self compassion is like a way of reparenting ourselves and treating ourselves like a kind and supportive parent.
More on Self Compassion
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