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A Break for Self-Compassion

A Break for Self-Compassion

Take time out to listen to this guided self-compassion break, or read the transcript below.

Hi, this is Leigh Matthews from Therapy in Barcelona. 

We all have moments, frequently throughout the day when we’re unkind to ourselves, when the internal critic is a bit too loud. Well, when we feel alone, because something terrible has happened or we’re just feeling uncertain or in grief or bad about a mistake. 

Whatever the case here is a practice called a break for self-compassion. And it’s something you can do anytime during the day or at night, when you need a little self-compassion. 

So to practice this exercise, we actually need to call up a little suffering. So I’d invite you to think about a situation in your life right now that is difficult for you. Maybe you’re feeling stressed or you’re having a relationship problem, or you’re worried about something that might happen. I’d invite you to think of something that is difficult, but not overwhelmingly difficult, especially if you’re new to practicing the self-compassion break. 

So finding a situation and getting in touch with it, what’s going on, what happened or what might happen, who said what really bring the situation to life in your mind’s eye? And then I’m going to be saying a series of phrases that are designed to help us remember the three components of self-compassion when we need it most. 

So the first phrase is this is a moment of suffering, right? We’re bringing mindful awareness to the fact that suffering is present. And I would invite you to find some language that speaks to you. Something like this is really hard right now, or I’m really struggling. We’re actually turning toward our difficulty, acknowledging it, naming it. This is a moment of suffering. 

The second phrase is suffering is a part of life. Okay? We’re reminding ourselves of our common humanity. Suffering is a part of life. And again, finding a language that speaks to you, it might be something like it’s not abnormal to feel this way. Many people are going through similar situations. The degree of suffering may be different. The flavour of suffering may be different, but suffering is a part of life. Part of being human. 

And then the third phase Is may I be kind to myself in this moment and to support bringing kindness to yourself, I’d invite you to perhaps put your hands over your heart or some other place on your body that feels soothing, a comforting feeling, the warmth of your hands, the gentle touch, letting those feelings of care stream through your fingers. 

May I be kind to myself and using any language that supports that sense of kindness, perhaps language you would use with a good friend you cared about who was going through a very similar situation? You know, it may be something like I’m here for you. It’s going to be okay. I care about you. You can even try using a diminutive, if that feels comfortable, Oh darling, I’m so sorry. Or you can try calling yourself by your first name. 

Anything that feels natural to express your very deep wish that you be well and happy and free from suffering, and then letting go of the practice and noticing how your body feels right now, allowing any sensations to be just as they are allowing yourself to be. 

Thank you.