I hate being moody. I get mad at myself whenever I am in a funk, not giving myself permission to feel sad, unmotivated, or just plain cranky. Pema Chodron, beloved Buddhist teacher and author, says “having compassion starts and ends with having compassion for all those unwanted parts of ourselves. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.” Not giving myself the room to feel the whole breadth of emotions in life is not giving myself compassion. I’m pretty good at giving others compassion especially when they are having a rough time, but not myself.
Drs. Kristin Neff and Christopher Germer, authors of The Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook, say that by simply asking the question “What do I need now?” we allow our self a moment of self-compassion, even if we don’t have an answer or the time to meet our needs. It’s about giving ourselves a break and knowing that nobody is perfect. It’s about seeing the good in ourselves and others.
One way to incorporate self-compassion into your life is to practice Loving-kindness (Metta) Mediation. By silently repeating phrases such as these below to yourself. I like to put my hands on my heart and close my eyes while repeating:
May I be happy.
May I be healthy.
May I be safe.
And may I live with ease.
It is amazing to spend just a few minutes each day giving this kindness to myself. It has really shifted how I treat myself, especially during difficult times.
Try it out and see for yourself!