“Lord, help me accept the truth about myself no matter how good it is!” —Bill O’Hanlon
It doesn’t take much to be self-critical. When we’re feeling anxious, depressed, angry, or hurt, it’s probably because we aren’t liking ourselves at that moment. Self-compassion is an antidote to much of the anxiety we experience. Research shows that having compassion for ourselves naturally leads to feeling more compassionate toward and connected to others. See Kristen Neff’s extensive research for more details.
Moving from self-criticism to self-kindness gives us a profound sense of well-being.
In this group of eight people over an eight-week period, we will learn how to:
- develop self-compassion as motivation for change
- calm our nervous system and cope more effectively with stress and anxiety
- create an attitude of humility, gratitude, and acceptance of ourselves and others
In the Cultivating Self-Compassion Group, one of the things we do is write a self-compassionate letter to ourselves, a difficult letter for many to write. When one participant told her daughter what she was doing, the daughter said, “Oh, that’s easy,” and proceeded to write the following. How easily we forget what was once natural and straight from our heart.
I Love you so much,. So very, very much!
I want to tell you all the things I appreciate about you .
I appreciate that I am a unique human being.
I appreciate that I am a thoughtful and Loving person. I appreciate that I take care of my body. I appreciate that I tell myself the truth!
I love you,. Love me
—Sage, age 10
The group Cultivating Self-Compassion has opened my eyes to treating myself with the same kindness, regard, respect, and compassion with which I try to treat others. And although this practice is still very new, [it] is making such a calming difference. It is also making me much more aware of the triggers for stress and anxiety that assault us in everyday life and some tools to cope with them.… By trying to make these lessons my own, my life has changed for the better and will continue to change as I walk down this new, exciting, empowering path. Yes, I was/am open to these changes but could not have made them without an excellent teacher—you. So, many thanks for helping me to improve the quality of my life. —JC
Thank you for this, Jennifer. Thank you for creating the sacred container of our group where hearts and souls have opened and allowed others to peek in, thank you for your sweet and gentle guidance, and thank you for being “you.” I appreciate you and honor your gift! —ML
Holy Crap! I’m a positive person! —Participant comment at the completion of the group
Thank you so much for creating such a safe and clear environment for us to learn about cultivating self-compassion. It was one of the best groups I have ever been involved with. I learned so much and felt like I was truly part of a community working on learning to love, accept, and embrace all of the aspects of what makes each of us so unique and individual. Your openness and gentle guidance encouraged all of us to speak our truth and to open to the soft vulnerability of “true self.” I learned to speak to myself as a mother to her child or as a dear friend. My wish is that everyone has an opportunity to experience this. My gratitude is deep and wide! —MLP