Self compassion 101: The Walk (How to be Kinder to Yourself!)

It is a beautiful experience being with ourselves at a level of complete acceptance. When that begins to happen, when you give up resistance and needing to be perfect, a peace will come over you as you have never known. - Ruth Fishel.

Pic credit: Ashimashi.tumblr.com

(This is a post by Christa Gallopoulos of CarryItForward.com).

The Simplest Thing.  

The simplest things in life can be the hardest.

 Telling the truth.

 Embracing fear.

Loving what is.

 And perhaps most difficult of all, being truly kind to yourself.

Whether you grew up with a strict set of rules that didn’t allow for any individuality or being largely ignored or even abused, chances are you didn’t learn much about self compassion. Certainly, our society with its messages of being the perfect weight, the perfect student, the perfect mother, doesn’t allow much room for it.

And as far as I  know, Barbie doesn’t come in a “Perfectly Me” version! 

Now there’s an idea!

So it’s up to us, isn’t it, to find our way back to loving who we are? And once we do, then we can love others in a whole new way. And that, my friend, could change the world.

Sounds good, doesn’t it?

Alrighty then. You go off and practice self compassion. There you go. Meet me back here when you’re done.

Hmmm…. back already? Not so easy, is it? 

No worries. I’ve got a bag of tricks to help you. It’s not easy for any of us. Took me years and years to figure it out, and still – I have to work at it. That’s why it’s called a practice! 

I’ll be sharing some of my favorite tools and practices here at Your Life Your Way over the next couple months. One at a time, easy does it.

Yep. Easy.

One of the most important things to understand about being kind to yourself is just that – ease. And you get to ease through slowing things down enough to feel it. So we’ll start there – with slowing it down.

And slowing it down means making things simple, so here goes.

PRACTICE 1: THE WALKING THING.  

  • Find a place to walk, preferably outdoors. Yes, ideally, there would be blue skies and white puffy clouds and a path of redwood pine needles. Life isn’t always cued up to provide us with all that and a unicorn or two, though, so the distance from your car in the parking lot to the office building door will do nicely. A grocery store aisle, late at night works, too. Not the ice cream one, preferably. If all else fails, you can walk up and down one stretch of sidewalk, too. 
  • Be sure you are really breathing into your belly without forcing it. Hold each breath for a few seconds, then let it all out. Repeat. This is a great thing to practice in line at the bank, or in traffic, or when your two year old says “no!” for the umpteenth time before breakfast. Think of it as warming up for your walk!
  • Stand tall. Not rigidly, just tall. Pretend there is a string at the top of your head, connected all the way up into the clouds. Or extend your spine fully, if you understand yoga speak. Shoulders relaxed, rotate your neck a little, shake out your arms.  Focus on feeling your body, being right here, right now.
  • Start walking, in a slow and intentional way. This is all about the process, not about getting there in record time, unless you are late for work. In which case you might want to be kind to yourself in a different way, and find time to do this later!  Really feel your feet as they touch the ground – the heel, the ball of your foot, the toes pushing off. 

Find a bit of a rhythm to your stroll.  Look just a bit ahead, keeping it easy. And breathing – don’t forget to breathe!

Once you find a comfortable pace - slower than a normal walk – begin to say these words: 

 I am  blessed. I am a blessing to the world. Over and over. I am blessed. I am a blessing to the world. 

Find a way to match the words to your walk, swinging your arms gently.   

There you go. In time, you can add two more words to it, changing the beat a bit –

I am so blessed. I am such a blessing to the world.  

That’s it. Try it for a few minutes at first – no more than five. We’re being kind and easy, remember? Find your way, extending the time up to twenty minutes or so. You may find yourself forgetting, and that’s ok. Go back to it, being gentle with yourself, not worrying one bit about “doing it right”. 

Practice. It’s all practice. Next month I’ll share Practice # 2 with you.

Being kind to you.  

I’d love to hear how this goes for you, how it changes things and how it doesn’t. Take it easy, have fun. Play. Remember, this could lead to a whole new world. Let me know your thoughts below, thanks!

Christa Gallopoulos is an intuitive writer, artist, speaker and coach who makes her online home at www.carryitforward.com

She is the founder of WomenHeal: an online alliance (WHOA), which will be unveiled this fall at www.WomenHeal.org.  Nothing brings her more joy than watching people uncover all that they really are, and always have been.
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