Real self-compassion is something I learned later in life. It is about taking care of yourself. I wanted to write this post now as I feel there are so many expectations coming up this time of year – I realise I also mentioned that in my previous blogpost! Below you will find a self-compassion meditation that I believe is great to do when you feel you need time-out to care for yourself, or any other time! Before getting into it, I would advise you to sit in silence for a few moments, following your breath or noticing sensations in your body, so that you have opened for a space of calmness and stillness within you – thereby allowing yourself to get more out of the meditation. But first, a few words to explain how I heard about it.
During my mindfulness teacher training a few years ago, one of the teachers offered a short self-compassion meditation. She led the group through it one evening. I emphasise that it was evening, as that means we had been sitting watching our minds, so to speak, for a whole day – which already felt pretty intense! Our teacher also introduced the meditation to the group as a gift she had chosen to give to us. I believe that this conscious act of giving made us value her words even more as she led us through the meditation. Here it is:
“I allow myself – to be imperfect
I allow myself – to make mistakes
I allow myself – to be a learner in life
I forgive myself – I am free for now”
This self-compassion meditation is done in coordination with the breath. I personally find that this gives more impact to every single word. As you say the first part of each line to yourself, breathe in (ie. breathing in as you say “I allow myself”). And as you say the last part of each line, breathe out (ie. breathing out as you say “to be imperfect”). Also, repeat each line four times before going to the next line. Every time you say a line, whether it is the first part or second part of the line, allow the words to sink in. Say them with patience and clarity in order to allow yourself to take them fully in.
Hearing the meditation for the first time, there were various reactions to it. Some in the group turned very quiet after being guided through it, some did not seem affected, and some of us got tears in our eyes, me included (lots of tears!). If you have never said these kind words to yourself before, allow them in and just see how you experience them.
Since my initial training I have used this meditation a few times in my mindfulness teaching. Everyone reacts to it in their own way, however it has become clear to me that saying these very kind words to yourself can be very comforting. Maybe you could find someone who could read them to you next time you meditate?