“Darling, I know you suffer. That is why I am here for you.” This mantra is offered to us by Thich Nhat Hanh. When we hear this from others who care about us, a deep healing begins. When we learn to say this to ourselves, we are free. That is the power of Self-Compassion.
Imagine if we said these words to ourselves instead of self-critical messages such as: you are not good enough, you don’t really deserve more, you are fat, lazy, not special enough or lovable enough. So many people suffer from self-criticism around their eating and body image. They have been shamed into thinking that their struggles with eating, weight and body image are all their fault. That there is something wrong with them. With who they are in the world.
This is just not true.
It is not your fault that our brains are designed to eat food as opposed to restrain from food, especially when stressed. It is not your fault that you may have learned to soothe your stress with food. It is not your fault that you may not have had all your emotional needs met at all times, as a child. It is not your fault that we live in a shaming, blaming, eating disordered culture.
But it is your responsibility to heal. To get free from the shame that is debilitating, isolating and stressful. To live your best life. To take good care of yourself.
The antidote to shame is Self-Compassion. Learning to soothe yourself with kindness and compassion. There are 4 ways to bring compassion into your life:
– letting go of the critical, angry self-critical voice and a desire to condemn self or others
– gently encouraging positive actions for self or others, even if unpleasant in the short term
– cultivating happiness, kindness, warmth, support, belonging, connectedness
– learning to embrace difficult experiences, stress and negative emotions in a warm empathic way
Self-compassion is a skill we can learn, practice and integrate into our lives. Mindful Self-Compassion teaches practices that can help clarify and focus compassionate thinking, behaviours, feelings and intentions. That is why the 8 week program in Mindful Self-Compassion works to support us to truly transform. Each week we teach formal and informal self-compassion practices that you can use bring more self-care and kindness into your body, mind and spirit.
If you prefer to work on cultivating self-compassion individually, we also offer Self-Compassion focused Counselling.