What We're Doing Instead of Resolutions
Eight Practices to Cultivate Self -Compassion
“I tend to be pretty critical of myself, so having more self-compassion and acceptance is something that can be challenging. Trying to think about how I would treat a friend that’s being overly self-critical always helps me to have more insight into how I could be drawing myself near in a more positive way.”
- PF Founder, Amy
Each new year, we are inevitably drawn to learning new skills, setting goals or focusing on our growth in some way. Resolutions can be a great way to focus our energy, but even with the best of intentions, our collective tendency towards internalized capitalism warps our goals in a way that peaks our anxiety and leads to unnecessary stress (who can relate!?). The focus on resolutions overlooks a skill that can serve us even more powerfully; self-compassion.
What Is Self Compassion?
Simply put, self compassion is relating to yourself with a kind and forgiving attitude no matter what is happening. When we can increase this ability within ourselves, we are much less likely to need it from outside sources (which we cannot always depend on!) Often, self-criticism is a default way to motivate ourselves, but without self-compassion, we are actually less likely to take risks or persevere through difficulties.
How to Practice Self-Compassion
Research has shown that anyone can develop self-compassion with a willingness to practice. We recently came across a workbook called The Self-Compassion Skills Workbook, which provides a “Map to Self-Compassion.” It asks us to dedicate 30 minutes each day, for 14 days to our practice, starting each session with this map and a “Self-Compassion Body scan.” From there, you are directed to one of eight practices.
1. A Self-Compassion Body Scan
Do you notice any tension, agitation, heaviness, or any other form of discomfort in your body? Can you stay present with it, or is it causing overwhelm?
Accept all of your bodily sensations and thoughts without trying to change them.
3. Embracing Suffering
Imagine someone you care about, and visualize them loving and accepting you. Allow this visualization to offer you comfort in your suffering.
4. Healing Pain From the Past
Neuroscientists have discovered that the key to transforming past pain is to get in touch with it while experiencing compassion, triggering a process called memory reconsolidation.
5. Going Deeper
A process of listening to the suffering in your body, listening to a past self that is suffering, and listening to parts of yourself that may not be cooperating with your practice.
6. When Compassion is Difficult
Typically when self-compassion is difficult to access, it’s due to one of two obstacles: overwhelm or competing commitments. This practice offers you ways to accept these obstacles.
7. Natural Compassion
Focus on either sending compassion to someone else, receiving compassion from an imagined source as a way to naturally tap into compassion.
8. Cultivating Joy
A practice of removing the focus on external sources of happiness (i.e. achieving goals, solving problems) and cultivating joy through mindfulness and optimism.
As we face another year with plenty of unknowns, we encourage you to reflect on how you treat yourself. We believe that self-compassion might just be the new resolution. Check out The Self-Compassion Skills Workbook to learn more about the eight practices, and curl up in your favorite pajamas for those daily 30 minutes.