Self-compassion has three main components: awareness, a sense of interconnectedness/common humanity, and kindness. I support clients in developing each of these capacities through bringing attention to present-moment experience and abiding with it as-is, rather than getting lost in it, turning away from it, or trying to “fix” it. At the same time, I encourage clients to relate to their experience from a sense of belonging; an understanding that no one is alone in joy, pain, fear, grief, love, loneliness, numbness, excitement, anxiety: all are part of being human.
For many clients, the third aspect of self-compassion – kindness – is especially challenging. When something is “going wrong” or not working out according to plan, the reflexive response is often to blame oneself. This strategy, though familiar for most people, tends to be a dead end. I work with clients to interrupt these habitual ways of responding to experience, and to then experiment with bringing a fresh perspective to what is happening. For some, it is easier to be curious than to be kind, so often that is where the work begins. At the same time, many come to discover that genuine curiosity is, itself, a powerful form of kindness.
I feel passionate about self-compassion because I have seen that as people develop this capacity, they become more flexible in their relationships, and better able to find a sense of wholeness and well-being that is not contingent on external circumstances or the actions of others. This freedom is possible for each of us.