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Category: Compassion (Page 1 of 7)

How to Awaken Self-Compassion

While it may sound easy, practicing compassion for ourselves is quite the difficult task. Creating a practice to integrate self-compassionate feelings into your life will heal your mind and body, and open your heart to new heights.

Try this 10-step practice.

Self-compassion involves becoming aware of the presence of suffering in our bodies, emotions, thoughts, and actions – and then taking steps to diminish the suffering. Compassion is the natural and spontaneous feeling that arises when we witness suffering, and that triggers our taking action to alleviate the suffering. While it may sound easy, practicing compassion for ourselves is the more difficult of the two. Creating a practice to integrate self-compassionate feelings into your life can heal your mind and body, and open your heart to new heights.

Benefits of Self-Compassion

Research indicates that cultivating self-compassion can contribute to beneficial physical, emotional-mental, and interpersonal changes, such as:

  • Modulates hormonal functioning, especially of oxytocin and cortisol
  • Reduces the intensity and frequency of negative and chronic stress reactions
  • Copes with difficult emotional experiences
  • Moderates depression and anxiety
  • Increases emotional well being
  • Mitigates negative thinking, including rumination
  • Improves interpersonal relationships
  • Enhances patience, generosity, gratitude, acceptance, humility, openness, and gentleness

10 Steps to Self-Compassion

Set aside 15 minutes the first time you do this practice. Read through the sequence to get a feel for the flow of the practice before you begin. You will develop your own pace and rhythm as your practice grows, extending or decreasing the amount of time you need to get the most out of it.

Lie down or take a comfortable seat that feels both relaxed and alert.

Practice mindful breath: Become aware of your breath; breathe naturally while noticing in-breathing and out-breathing. Anchor your attention to a specific body-part, for examples you can focus at the tip of the nostrils or lips, sensing air entering and exiting the body, or you can focus on your belly as it rises while breathing in, and falls while breathing out.

Place one or both hands over the region of the heart, and bring a mental picture or memory of a loved one into awareness, someone with whom you have experienced a feeling of unconditional acceptance. This may be a human being or an animal, any being whose presence elicits natural happiness.

Recognize that your loved one, like all beings, experiences the vulnerabilities and the aspirations that life brings. He or she is subject to the sufferings of pain, accidents, disease, undo fear, or sadness, and eventual dying and death.

Bring the presence of this person into your heart-space while silently repeating the following:

  • May you be safe
  • May you be well
  • May you be happy
  • May you live with ease

As you notice that your attention has wandered elsewhere, gently encourage your attention back to the presence of the loved one at your heart center, and resume the practice of repeating each of the four phrases.

Add yourself to the goodwill you are generating from the space of your heart, repeating the following phrases:

  • May you and I be safe
  • May you and I be well
  • May you and I be happy
  • May you and I live with ease

Repeat these or other phrases that feel natural to you, while cultivating an attitude of openness, acceptance, and loving-kindness.

Picture the entirety of your mind-body. Gently and slowly begin to scan your body by moving your attention:

  • From the crown of the head down the neck, shoulders, both arms, hands and fingers
  • Along the front and back of the upper torso, and then the pelvic region
  • Up the body from the toes all the way to the crown of the head
  • Toward any areas of pleasantness and unpleasantness

Offer compassionate loving kindness to yourself by repeating the following phrases:

  • May I be safe
  • May I be well
  • May I be happy
  • May I live with ease

If it feels safe, then revisit areas of unpleasantness while holding a part of the mind-body in the heart space.

Consider naming the mind-body part within the phrases, for example:

  • “May the knee that I am trying to take care of be well …”
  • “May the fear that I have tried to push away be at ease …”
  • “May I be at ease with the negative thoughts that I have fought for so many years …”

Conclude your practice by bringing awareness back to the entire mind-body, and sensing the entirety of your being as a singular organism intimately connected with all other life forms. As you breathe, feel your connection with all of life. Lie or sit for some time in silence.

Shorter Options for a Self-Compassion Practice

At any time in your day, you can practice self-compassion, even if you only have 15 or 30 seconds. Whether you’re at work and feeling stressed, at home with your family, or anywhere you feel you need a little extra self-love, take a moment to activate self-compassion by bringing loving kindness to your awareness.

7-Day Self-Compassion Challenge

Form an intention to practice for seven consecutive days to see how the powerful the benefits can be. If possible, practice at the same time each day. After one week of practice, ask yourself:

  • What was your experience?
  • Has practicing self-compassion catalyzed more personal awareness? If yes, of what?
  • Has practicing triggered answers on what to do to alleviate your suffering?
  • Have you taken actions you had not taken before doing this practice?
  • Evaluate whether you want to commit to practicing for another week, and then another…

Formally practicing each day generates, solidifies, and strengthens deeply positive experiences in your life that literally etch into the brain. Being compassionate with yourself generates acceptance of your humanness and the humanness of others, an essential quality for a fuller awakening. Your focus shifts from the time-bound personal narrative of the small ego-self to present-moment compassionate awareness. When you awaken self-compassion, you can strengthen your familiarity with your essential nature and reconnect with the vast fullness of the All/the One/the Ground of Being.

After a steady practice, you will find yourself more often spontaneously feeling self-compassion, even when you’re not practicing.

Identifying Your Core Values

Your Personal values are the general expression of what is most important for you. A value expresses the worth of something, and in this case what you categorical like and dislike.

So they are like categories for all your preferences in life. Values are formed starting in early childhood and are later consciously re-evaluated and can therefore be changed.

By comparing two values you can discover which is representing something that is more important than the other. Therefore you rate the one value over the other.

Personal values are generally operating in the background. They influence everything what you do but usually it happens on auto-pilot. You just know intuitively what you like and dislike and decide accordingly.

Why is it Good to Know Your Personal Values?

The answer is twofold:

First you get clarity and build your self-awareness by identifying your values and secondly knowing your highest values can act like a guide for you. It makes intelligent decisions easier. Also knowing your negative values, those from which you try to keep away from, is very helpful as well. When you are clearly aware of your value hierarchy you can consciously check situations against your value-system, which will create better decisions and results. It will be easier to keep your balance in life.

For instance when you are about to make an important decision you can double-check if going the one or the other way would go against one of your core values. On the long run, that would pose a problem for you.

So all in all it’s an awareness building process which can give you direction in life.

When choosing your personal core values it is important to think about the criteria that you will use to make your selection. Since your personal values decision will have multiple answers, your criteria will also help you to prioritize and limit your list. Using our decision making model, you will want to look at other connected decisions for goals/source requirements that will influence your criteria. If you have already made decisions for a personal vision, mission statement, and/or core beliefs, you should see goals/source requirements that will influence the criteria for this decision.

With your connected decisions in mind, here are some criteria that might help in selecting your personal core values.

  • Consistent with my personal vision, mission, and core beliefs – In addition to specific goals/source requirements, you can use this criteria as a way to eliminate personal values that are inconsistent with your other decisions.
  • Inspirational – Personal values should encourage you to fulfill your purpose in life. Great personal values, read every day, will provide an uplift and motivation to take on the day’s challenges.
  • Unique – Your values need to speak to you. Don’t hesitate to use values learned from others, but your core values should help define who you are and want to be. They should reflect the priorities for your life and will tend to emphasize your strengths while compensating for your weaknesses.
  • Provides guidance – Personal core values should help you in your everyday decisions, particularly with relationships.
  • Long lasting – This is about creating your future. Expect that your values will evolve as you grow, mature and gain life experience. However, this is not about following the latest fad. If you expect a personal core value to change next week, it likely isn’t very core.
  • Meaningful and rewarding – Values provide the measures that help us live meaningful lives that fulfill our given purpose. Living a life of meaning brings us joy.

A List of Core Values

There are a lot of value lists out there, so here are just the real core values that most people have and that differentiate a character the most. I tried to keep the list tight and avoid repetition by synonyms:

Abundance Accountability Achievement Action
Adventure Ambition Awareness Balance
Beauty Being the Best Calmness Cheerfulness
Clarity Comfort Compassion Competition
Connection Contribution Control Courage
Creativity Curiosity Determination Discipline
Effectiveness Empathy Energy Enthusiasm
Excellence Fairness Faith Fame
Family Flexibility Freedom Friendship
Fulfillment Fun Harmony Happiness
Health Honesty Honor Humility
Independence Integrity Intelligence Intimacy
Inspiration Kindness Knowledge Liveliness
Love Money Nature Passion
Peace Perfection Persistence Philanthropy
Power Respect Security Simplicity
Significance Spirituality Spontaneity Strength
Stability Success Status Teamwork
Tolerance Tradition Truth Vitality
Wealth Wisdom

Create Your Value Hierarchy

In order to create your 10 top-values do the following:

  1. Select the 10 values from the list above that you like most. (of course you can also do a Top 5 or Top 3)
  2. Start with the first in the list. Then order this by importance by comparing two values by asking: “Which one is more important to me if I had could only have one and had to compromise the second?” Remove the winner and write it on top of a new list and then continue with the remaining 6 on the old list and so on.
  3. Do this for all 10 until you have an ordered list of your top 10 values.

Here are my top 10 personal values:

  1. Truth
  2. Integrity
  3. Contribution
  4. Love
  5. Inspiration
  6. Family
  7. Fulfillment
  8. Health
  9. Creativity
  10. Success

Your value hierarchy expresses your character of course. Someone who values adventure highly is a different character as someone who values stability more. Someone who values success highly is different than someone who values family on top.

An interesting exercise is also to create your top 10 negative values, which express what you really dislike or what is totally unimportant to you.

Are Values Fixed or Can I Change Them?

By there very nature, your value-system tend to be more stable, it is your character in it’s many facettes. But single values are not static and fixed. They can change. Personal values usually change when something big happens, or when you are consciously re-evaluating your life and make a decision, based on your experiences, to change your value hierarchy.

As an example I valued diversity a lot in my first business. Later I learned by experience all the drawbacks of doing a lot at a time and now I value simplicity more.

So what when you are dissatisfied with a value you have and what to change it?

For instance you may have the top value of stability and you want to become a bit more flexible in your life. (could be the other way around as well) Changing this would work if you create experiences and enjoy them that are in alignment with the new value: flexibility in this example.

So to integrate a new value into your top-values:

  1. Create positive experiences that express this value in your life
  2. Decrease experiences that are aligned with the opposite value in your life
  3. Also working on your beliefs will make it easier to adapt to new values.

Please break your list down to TOP 5 and then to TOP 3 personal values.

What are your TOP 3 personal values?

This is my TOP 3 personal values:

  1. Integrity
  2. Truth
  3. Love

No person likes making mistakes. Having well defined personal core values helps us avoid making choices that work against who we want to be. Our values become a clear set of guidelines for our words and actions, consistently moving us in the direction aligned with our core beliefs and personal vision. Our life becomes one of our choosing, not one that is directed by the decisions of others. Our values help us build and maintain our identity as unique individuals.

Choosing and knowing your values can provide a number of benefits that include:

  • Reducing stress
  • Making better decisions
  • Finding environments and people that support your aspirations
  • Increasing joy and happiness
  • Supporting your growth and development
  • Helping in times of conflict or confusion
  • Growing contribution and value
  • Providing motivation

Knowing it or not, choosing it or not, all of us have a set of personal core values. Prevent discontent, conflict, frustration and lack of fulfillment by choosing consciously the values by which you want to live.


Now do the limpness test: Ask yourself the four following questions?

  1. Would you sacrifice any of theses vales for a million rand?
  2. Have you lost any of theses core values in times of stress?
  3. In 20 years would theses values still hold true?
  4. Are you prepare to disregard one or more of theses values if they put you at a disadvantage?

Aligning with your core values all the time makes you powerful.

Ref:. www.myrkothum.com/personal-values/

and www.decision-making-solutions.com/personal_core_values.html

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I offer you two day forgiveness course in Cape Town, Johannesburg, New York, London, Hong Kong, Singapore, Sydney, Melbourne, Los Angeles, Chicago, Ontario, ‎Dublin and Auckland.