This is part three in the series of How to Boost Emotional Healing. It is the final part in an experiement on self-compassion. If you were not here for part one you can read it here: How to Boost Emotional Healing (Part One). Take a moment to read the post. It will take less than 3 minutes. Go ahead. I will wait here for you to come back. While you are away get a piece of paper and a pen/pencil to write with. You will need it to complete the next step in the experiement.
Are you ready for the second part of the experiement? Remember imagining the friend or acquaintence who you were listening to? Now, your task is to write a response to each of the below statements. What would you say to a loved one who said the below statements about themselves? Try to find some kind words that are compassionate, warm or empathic.
- I am so stupid! An idiot. Why did I ever do that? I should have known better.
- I am nothing but a failure and I will never be good at anything.
- I feel worthless and a burden and don’t belong here.
- Why would anybody love me? I am not good enough.
- When I look in the mirror I think I am ugly and not good looking at all.
Do you have your responses written down? Read over them. Hear them in your mind. Let yourself be aware of how you feel. Just notice. Then, add anything you want if you think there is something more you want to say or do. Such as, “Would you offer a hug? A pat on the back?” Remember this is a person you care for who is suffering. Set the paper aside. we’ll come back to it in a minute or two.
Here is the last part of the experiement. Think of a time when you were hard on yourself? We all do it. We all say mean things to ourselves. It just is. Don’t try to gag your thoughts the way you would gag a person. Let the thoughts be there. Let them enter your awarness. You do not need to grab at them or push them away. Step back and notice what you feel or think. Notice how your body feels. Take a minute to scan your body from head to toe. As you scan your body observe the scan like you are a neutral observer.
Now this is the final step. Take the piece of paper you set aside. Read it aloud. Read it to yourself. Let yourself hear the words. If the words don’t quite fit then change them around so they do fit. Rember these are words of warmth, kindness and compassion. You ae reading them to yourself as if you were your ourown best freind. Take time to add a few specific words of kindness to the list just for yourself. Let yourself feel the warmth. Let your self receive the compassion. It’s okay if the critical voice seems stubborn. After all, it has been there a long time. The idea is to receive compassion, not gag the voice. You might hear the critical voice say you do not deserve the kindness. You are encouraged to give it a chance. Take it easy. The purpose is to gently offer up self-compassion.
According to Tara Parker-Pope research on self-compassion and going easy on your self has a positive effect on your health. You can read her article in the New York Times. Also, a colleague of mine and fellow blogger, Kate Daigle, writes nicely about nourishing wisdom and healing with empathy and purpose. You can read her post about compassion by clicking here. if you have a chance read her post on mindfulness too. Learning mindful skills can make it easier for us to step back and connect to our compassion.
Part 2: Toons-day about self-talk : How to Boost Emotional Healing (Part Two)