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Unlike self-criticism, which asks if you're good enough, self-compassion asks, what's good for you?
Suffering is part of the human experience. But how often do we judge and criticize ourselves for our suffering? Thoughts, such as “You’re so disgusting!,” “Suck it up!” and “You are such a loser!” can run like a constant commentary in our minds. You are your own worst critic as the saying goes, and it’s true.
We live in a culture where we are defined by our achievements, perfectionism, and evaluation against others. While the self-critic's intention is good--to try and motivate us to do better--it's method is flawed. We end up feeling worthless, anxious, and unmotivated. The self-critic may also be a mechanism of protection, beating others to the punch when we don't meet expectations or helping you hide from difficult and vulnerable emotions. Would you tell a loved one "You're such a loser!"? I doubt it. So then why are you so harsh on yourself?
Compassion is defined as “suffering together,” or the feeling that arises when you are confronted with another’s suffering and feel motivated to relieve that suffering. Self-compassion is the extension of kindness, care, warmth, and understanding (instead of criticism) towards oneself when faced with suffering and a desire to help yourself alleviate that suffering. There are three core components of self-compassion:
To pay attention to and sit with your suffering without ignoring or exaggerating it.
To validate your suffering.
To respond to your suffering with kindness, warmth, and understanding.
To do the things necessary to take care of you.
To remind yourself that everyone fails, makes mistakes, and gets it wrong sometimes.
You are not alone in our suffering.
Sometimes it is too difficult to just sit with our suffering using mindfulness. Self-compassion offers a tool to hold your suffering with kindness, like being wrapped in a warm towel. This allows you to explore your suffering and heal it. As an extension of mindfulness, self-compassion is considered a trans-diagnostic and resource-building approach that has been shown to have many benefits and can also be integrated into any treatment. There are several techniques to cultivate self-compassion, such as meditations with warm and compassionate stances, anchor phrases (e.g., “May I be kind to myself in this moment of suffering.”), and soothing touch or activities. I will work with you to cultivate your inner self-compassion through personalized practices and exercises.