In our April 5th Pathway Session on Self-compassion, Karen Walant, Phd, LCSW shared her insights and tips on how we can generate compassion for ourselves. Karen is a fan of both Dr. Kristin Neff and Dr. Tara Brach, who have done significant research in how we can reach our full potential when we show kindness to ourselves. As Karen pointed out, both Kristin (Fierce Self-compassion) and Tara (Trusting the Gold: Uncovering Your Natural Goodness) have published new books on the Self-compassion topic.
During the session, Karen re-iterated the 3 components to Self-compassion that Kristin Neff initially identified in her research: 1) self-kindness vs. self-judgment, 2) common humanity–everyone has struggles, and 3) mindfulness vs. over-identification with failures or pain. One ideas Karen shared is that “if you name it, you tame it”. It’s okay to acknowledge our pain and suffering. However, we ALSO have positive experiences that bring us joy, and if we collect those good moments in our “inner treasure chest”, we will recognize the “gold” within us.
Karen is passionate about the power of meditation in enhancing physical and emotional wellness. Meditation–combined with simple exercises like embracing yourself–releases “happy” chemicals in your body, including endorphins and serotonin. Thus, meditation and recognizing your strengths can be part of self-kindness platform we can all utilize. During the session, we practiced two meditations which you can find on Karen’s website here. In addition, checking out the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, MA and Karen’s bi-weekly meditation sessions are two other ways of doing more to give us the self-compassion and self-love we deserve. Please go here for Karen’s one-page hand-out she used for our session.