Practice of Self-Compassion

We are in a difficult, disruptive time.

Dealing with uncertainty requires constantly having to adjust ourselves to ever-changing environment. It can be stressful and overwhelming.

It’s natural to feel that a sense of control over life quickly gets diminished when we experience a big change.

When we feel overwhelmed, we need to get control back.

The first thing we need to do is “slow down.”

How can we slow down?

The following steps of simple mindfulness practice is useful:

  1. Take a pause
  2. Bring your attention to what is happening internally
  3. Name your feelings

When we take a pause, notice and name what’s going on internally right now, that self-awareness really slows us down.

Mindfulness practice helps us develop an observing self. When we are too close to feeling, we can’t do anything about it. So step back from feeling and observe it from distance.

Mindfulness practice gives you a tool to find a way back to you. Cultivating self-awareness helps you access more of who you really are beyond feeling overwhelmed.

Practice of self-compassion

I’d like to introduce a fuller practice of self-compassion called RAIN.

This is four steps of self-compassion introduced by Tara Brach. She is a PhD, psychologist and a meditation teacher.

It’s called R.A.I.N. using the first letter of each step.

Recognise what is going on internally and label it

When we are upset, we often get caught up with a story, what is happening externally.

Remember the key is to turn your attention inward. And recognise and name your feelings (e.g. “I’m feeling sad” “I’m feeling anxious”).

Allow your feeling

Say “Yes” to your inner experience.

If you find it difficult to accept your feeling, you can at least  acknowledge it by saying “It’s OK to feel this way.”

An important thing is to make a space for your feelings whatever it is non-judgementally.

Investigate with interest and care

Investigate what it is like to experience your feeling in your body. Ask yourself “Where do I feel my feeling in my body?”

It’s also useful to ask yourself:

  • “Why am I feeling this way?”
  • “What does this hurting part want from me?”
  • What am I afraid of?

Nurture with self-compassion

When we are overwhelmed or anxious, we need to turn towards love rather than fear. Say to yourself kind, gentle words:

  • “Don’t worry”
  • “There is nothing wrong with you”
  • “It won’t last forever”
  • “You will be fine.”

This part is to accept that we have a need and to reassure ourselves.

This self-compassion practice is a powerful tool for any strong emotions.

The following meditation by Tara Brach may be useful if you want to try self-compassion for yourself.

Meditation starts at 6:37. (The whole audio takes about 13 minutes)

This meditation is Lesson 24 from “Mindfulness daily.” SoundsTrue offers the series of online programmes for free at the moment. It’s highly recommended.