28 DAYS OF COMPASSION
What is Compassion?
The definition of compassion that is accepted by many is to recognize the suffering of others and then take steps to help. There’s an action component to compassion compared to empathy which emphasizes on the emotions and feeling parts only. Compassion takes it one step further. Compassion also embodies the expression of love and kindness for those who are suffering, this includes the Self. Compassion is not concerned with material or physical things. It's concerned with the human spirit and soul. The spiritual definition of compassion involves acting to alleviate the suffering; taking actions to allow the emotions to flow through, even if it means seeking help or actively finding ways to heal such as through meditation and the practise of yoga and mindfulness.
Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.
What is Self-Compassion?
Self-compassion is a mindfulness technique. It is the ability to expand and give understanding, acceptance, and kindness to ourselves, in the same way we would give it to others. Self-compassion isn’t self-pity or self-indulgence. It’s giving yourself the same grace you would want a good friend to give you. It starts with the Self. Always.
Dr. Kristin Neff, a researcher who has spent several years studying the psychology behind self-compassion, defines 3 key elements of self-compassion, and these are in her own words:
Self-kindness vs. Self-Judgement
Self-compassion entails 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. Self-compassionate people recognize that being imperfect, failing, and experiencing life difficulties is inevitable, so they tend to be gentle with themselves when confronted with painful experiences rather than getting angry when life falls short of set ideals. People cannot always be or get exactly what they want. When this reality is denied or fought against suffering increases in the form of stress, frustration and self-criticism. When this reality is accepted with empathy and kindness, greater emotional equanimity is experienced.
Common humanity vs. isolation
Frustration at not having things exactly as we want is often accompanied by an irrational but pervasive sense of isolation – as if “I” were the only person suffering or making mistakes. All humans suffer, however. The very definition of being “human” means that one is mortal, vulnerable and imperfect. Therefore, self-compassion involves recognizing that suffering and personal inadequacy is part of the shared human experience – something that we all go through rather than being something that happens to “me” alone.
Mindfulness vs. over-identification
Self-compassion also requires taking a balanced approach to our negative emotions so that feelings are neither suppressed nor exaggerated. This equilibrated stance stems from the process of relating personal experiences to those of others who are also suffering, thus putting our own situation into a larger perspective. It also stems from the willingness to observe our negative thoughts and emotions with openness and clarity, so that they are held in mindful awareness. 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. We cannot ignore our pain and feel compassion for it at the same time. At the same time, mindfulness requires that we not be “over-identified” with thoughts and feelings, so that we are caught up and swept away by negative reactivity.
To make it easier for all to understand and in everyday language. Here are some useful phrases that you can say to yourself to practice self-compassion:
· It’s okay to feel this way.
· I know it hurts.
· I will grow through this.
· I’m doing my best.
· I forgive myself.
· I’m not alone.
· I’m going to get through this.
· This is really hard.
· I’m only human.
· Everyone makes mistakes.
· I am not my thoughts.
· It’s okay to take a step back.
· It is okay to feel this way.
. This too shall pass.
· I am allowed to feel my emotions and acknowledge them, but they don’t define me.
In the next 28 days, we would like the focus to be more on self-compassion, kindness towards yourself, because as we know, everything starts from the Self, it starts from you and me, from our hearts.
We will be giving you daily prompts to reflect on, answer and journal. These prompts will help you to develop the sense of compassion for the Self.
Just allow yourself to release what needs to be released and let yourself to practice compassion with yourself if any emotions arises.
We are here for you.
What to prepare for the next 28 days:
1. A journal/diary and your favourite pen.
2. Dedicate 10-20 minutes a day to check-in daily on your app. Download it here.
This challenge is open to all and it's conducted fully online. Feel free to get your friends and family on board too!
Join us and let's do this together!