When the going gets tough…Take a Self-Compassion Break

When the going gets tough…Take a Self-Compassion Break

We all have moments where we feel we don’t measure up. A friend described a scenario to me that was so relatable. She was describing a low point in her life on a beautiful spring day as she was walking in Central Park. She was looking around and saw people pushing carriages, holding hands, playing Frisbee, and laughing. She groaned. She believed that these seemingly happy people must have received a manual that she somehow missed on how to be happy. She had a veil of darkness that prevented her from plugging into the Well-Being that is there for the taking, the Universal Flow of Life. This was one of her darkest moments but also one of her brightest moments, as it was the moment that she realized she needed help.

All of us have moments that are dark. AND we all need each other. It is in connection that the light can enter our darkness. Being connected to our own inner self is vital for our Well-Being. When I am struggling with any negative emotion, I connect to myself by taking a self-compassion break. I learned about self-compassion from Dr. Kristin Neff. To learn more about the research behind practicing self-compassion: http://self-compassion.org.

Practicing self-compassion is similar to treating yourself like you would your best friend. I use it in my parenting a lot. Parenting is not for wimps. It can be really tough especially when adolescence hits. When I am feeling frustrated, angry, disappointed, or any negative emotion, this is what taking a “Self-Compassion Break” looks like for me.

  • I take a deep breath.
  • I acknowledge that whatever it is I am going through is tough. I say to myself “This is difficult.” Once I acknowledge the difficulty and accept that what is happening in the moment is what it is, I tap into a immediate sense of relief. I can feel my shoulders drop. I relax a little.
  • I then say to myself,  “I am not alone. There are millions of other parents who go through these difficulties.” This is a real switch from former beliefs that other people have the answers and I am the only person in the dark. This forms CONNECTION. This lifts the veil of isolation.
  • I then place a hand on a part of my body in a gesture of love to myself. If no one is around I may place my hand over my heart. If I am doing this out in the open, I may place my hand on my arm and stroke my arm in a reassuring way. I am sending love and kindness to myself. I say “May I be kind to myself as I go through this difficulty. May I send myself love.” I tell myself that I am doing the best I can. Then, when I am able I say a couple of affirming statements, such as “I am brave. I am facing my challenges wholeheartedly.”
  • I usually end my self-compassion break with a mantra that I find helpful such as “This too shall pass.” “The Universe is always conspiring for my benefit.”

By the time, this process ends, often just a couple of minutes, I have shifted. The great news is that I can do it at any time and it helps me become connected even when I am alone. It is also a great process to model for your children. Children start to become critical of themselves in grade school. We tend to think it is motivational to be critical of ourselves, but research has shown this is not true. Self-criticism can induce anxiety and depression. Cultivating self-compassion is protective against anxiety and depression.

Spring is here! I wish you renewed hope, peace and joy. The next time your inner joy is muted by grief, anger, frustration or sadness, try a self-compassion break. Send me your comments about your experiences. Would love to hear from you!

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Parenting has been called a rewarding job, a thankless job, the worst-paid job, and the most challenging job on the planet. This job of parenting has no special training, yet we are so motivated to succeed. Sometimes, we feel at a loss. Instead of a boss giving a review of our job performance, we parents judge our own performance and we do so quite harshly. Our children can also give us some bad reviews. Spouses can point the finger at us as well. We compare ourselves to others, others who appear to have it all under control. THEIR kid is captain of the team, on the honor roll and never disobeys. Sound familiar?

I have been a mom for almost 33 years to 4 amazing human beings. I say that with the utmost humility. I do not take credit for their amazingness. I took my hits as a parent. I have had rough patches for sure. I made huge mistakes. I beat myself up for those mistakes. That has all brought me on a path to finding a better way, a way of acceptance, compassion and truth.The truth is that our children are human beings that we have the honor to share a life with for a short period of time and much of what happens during that period of time is not within our control. I have become passionate about helping other parents with the challenges of parenting. It can be isolating, scary, and daunting. But once you find acceptance and self-compassion, and let go of comparisons, the joy that accompanies parenting will return. This is a form of awakening, becoming a more conscious parent. It takes new habits, new skills and practice. But it can be done. If you want to learn a different way of parenting, parenting from the inside out in a demanding world, please check out the workshops I am offering:Parenting from the Inside Out







Children, Parenting and the Law of Attraction

After many years of exploring, learning about and applying various self-improvement philosophies, most significantly the Law of Attraction, I launched a strong desire to redirect my life purpose and become a life coach.  I am overjoyed to report that I manifested that desire a few days ago.  I am officially a certified life coach!  This achievement was not accomplished without a ton of resistance, in the form of procrastination — which is just a fancy word for FEAR.  However, despite this resistance, I paddled through–sometimes upstream and sometimes downstream.  It could have been a much easier process if I just allowed it to be.  With the use of the processes I teach though, I managed to turn my boat downstream, get in all my requirements, and now I am celebrating!

What I am thinking about today is how my 7-year-old daughter manifests her heart’s desires.  Her wants are not muddied with resistance.  She is not riddled with fear.  When she wants something she BELIEVES whole-heartedly in the possibility of her desire being realized.  Life has not yet made her cynical.  She is my greatest evidence of Law of Attraction at work.  Here are her recent manifestations!

A little more than a week ago, I was on vacation with my husband, daughter, and niece visiting my in-laws in Massachusetts and while we were there, we took a day trip to Boston.  Our first stop was Harvard University.  I was explaining to my daughter that it was the oldest institution of higher learning in our country and that it was considered the #1 school to this day.  She asked me which schools are #2 and #3.  I told her Yale and Princeton and she responded very excitedly,  “I want to see those schools!  Can you take me to see them?” I answered “one day we will go see them.”  Well, two days later I received an email from the Girl Scouts that there was a tennis tournament at Yale, the last tournament before the US Open and the first 30 Girl Scouts could go for free thanks to the sponsorship of a bank.  I immediately responded to the email and will be taking Sarah to Yale next week, free of charge.  Heart’s Desire fulfilled-check!

The day after our trip to Boston, my daughter asked me if I could take her to a concert.  I asked her who she would like to see in concert.  She indicated One Direction, Big Time Rush, and oh, of course, she would be thrilled to see Justin Bieber!  I assured her that I would check if any of the aforementioned was on tour.  She clapped her hands as if her request was already granted just because I said I would check.  I did not check.  Not because I did not want to.  It escaped my mind.  My week was my usual busy parade of accomplishing items on my to-do list, most importantly getting in my requirements for my life coaching certification, running my business and taking care of home and family. However, five nights after her request to go to a concert, I was checking my email around 10 p.m. and I see this message from a fellow parent in my town that happened to have 2 free tickets to see Big Time Rush the following night and was wondering if I was interested in them! WOW!  I had to read it 2 more times to make sure I was seeing it correctly.  I was as excited as I knew Sarah would be, or so I thought. Sarah awakened at midnight and called out to me.  I could not wait until the morning to tell her. So I looked at her and announced “I am taking you to a concert tomorrow night.” Trying to open her eyes after coming from her dark room, she asked “To see who?”  I told her to guess.  She asked if it was One Direction. I  said “no.”  She then asked if it was Big Time Rush and I shook my head yes.  She was jumping up and down and hugging me and screaming.  I guess I was not as excited as she was after all.  Heart’s Desire fulfilled again!

Sarah is a Deliberate Creator.  She asks for things believing all things are possible and that the Universe will deliver and it does!  Easily, effortlessly and with no cost!  That is the abundance of this Universe.  That is what is true.  That is the Law of Attraction at work.  But most of us don’t know this truth or if we hear it, we don’t believe it.

I hope no one ever makes my daughter cynical.  I hope she never loses her Belief.  I KNOW that children have so much to teach us about living life.  Most of them have not forgotten yet who they are at the core of their being. They are here for the joy.  They are here for the expansion.  Unfortunately, some children forget this early on due to being conditioned otherwise. They are told to be seen, not heard.  They are told to live by others’ rules, not their inner knowing.  They are taught to fear this big, bad world.  They are told they are wrong.  They are called names.  Their spirits are squashed.

I am not talking about raising over-indulged spoiled children.  I am speaking about raising Empowered and Enlightened children who know who they are at the core.  If we could forget what society has conditioned us to believe about parenting and take the lead from our children, we will see they have the wisdom they need within them.  They don’t need us to teach them how to do life.  They need our unconditional love as they navigate life, as they sift through and find what their passions and preferences are.  Through the contrast that comes their way, they will make choices and if we support them in their choices, and also allow them to experience the consequence of those choices, they will joyfully expand into the lives they are meant to live. The best gift to give our children is to behold them, uplift them and appreciate them!