I sit on a large grey couch with a sleeping dog laying next to me; her head gently resting on my feet.
I wait for the bus listening to a podcast and a stranger walks by. She stops to tell me to take out my headphones and tells me that my hair is beautiful before continuing on her way.
I receive a package in the mail from a friend early in quarantine. A little note and gift to say that she was thinking of me and hoped the candle and “hugs” mug would help me get through the period with a smile on my face.
These moments all bring me joy and remind me of compassion. But, what does compassion truly mean?
To me, compassion first means sharing and receiving love and kindness with those around us. But compassion for ourselves is ultimately just as important as compassion for others.
Self-compassion is more than finding moments of self-care like reading a good book or going to the spa. Self-compassion also means positive self-talk: changing our internal dialogue into the positive. We can practice reframing these thought patterns through mindfulness by growing our self-awareness and suspending judgments.
February Mindfulness Challenge
Compassion extends beyond the love we have for our partners, families, friends, or pets. We also have to practice compassion for ourselves. Inviting a gratitude practice into your routine is a great way to start. You can grow this practice into more patience and kindness with yourself as you notice daily moments of gratitude.
Set aside a few minutes for reflection each day. I use the Five Minute Journal, but you can easily write your practice anywhere that works for you! Writing your responses will solidify and reinforce the practice.
What are you grateful for today? (list three)
You can be grateful for anything! Grateful that you got out of bed, that the sun is out, that you ate a filling and healthy breakfast, that you love something someone did for you, that your dog is cute ... The more detailed and specific you can be, the better!
What would make today great? (list three)
Some examples: I am patient with myself, I suspend judgment, I nourish my body, I take grounding deep breaths, I move my body... Try to think of this as space to set intentions for your day rather than building a to do list.
Daily affirmations: I am… (list two)
Some examples: I am capable and deserving of fulfillment, I am empowered, I am able to believe in myself, I am able to make healthy life choices. Using the phrases "I am able to.. or I am capable of..." can be helpful as you're building new skills and mindsets.