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!

To join the movement of Mindful and Compassionate Communities and to learn more about our programs, click on these links:




I AM WELL-BEING. I know this; I believe this; but I do not always manifest this reality. At the moment I am recovering from acute pancreatitis.  So, what’s up with that? How did I attract acute pancreatitis into my life? I certainly did not ask for it. I did not want it. It was a curve-ball that came out of nowhere. But it gave me much to consider, especially given the fact that I am in the business of coaching others to create their own WELL-BEING. The Law of Attraction does not give us what we want if we ARE vibrating in the energy fields that reek of stress and struggle and resistance. Our energy has to be HAPPY and HOPEFUL and LIGHT if we want to manifest our desires. In other words the channels need to be open. So, if our life is reflecting a bunch of things we do not want to manifest, the question is where are we stuck? What channels are clogged? In considering these questions, all things in our environment count. Are our thoughts full of resistance, complaints, or criticisms? Are we surrounding ourselves with negative people and circumstances? Are we separated from Mother Nature? Are we eating toxins: foods that are high in sugar, fat, and/or highly processed? Are we surrounded by clutter? Are we moving our bodies? Are we drinking water? When I consider these questions the answers are clear. I hate January and February and the beginning of March, in other words, I HATE winter. My dog was limping a few weeks ago and as a result hiking and the dog park was prohibited. This kept me away from my usual contact with Mother Nature. I have mostly eliminated refined sugar and white flour from my life since last May but fatty foods were still on my daily menu. I don’t feel like drinking water as much in the winter and especially when I am not exercising. Last Tuesday, I had my share of a fat-filled day. Wednesday, March 6th I was in the hospital with acute pancreatitis. Again, I ask the question, did I ask for acute pancreatitis? Well, maybe, indirectly, subconsciously I asked for it!

Here is the really good news. When we experience the outcomes in life we do not want and we would not consciously ask for, it provides the contrast that makes what we do want in our life so crystal clear. I WANT good health.  I WANT that earnestly. My 8-year-old daughter told me the night I got home from the hospital how scary it was for her that I was sick. That was all I had to hear. So, here is my program of action:

  1. I am meditating daily. Deepak Chopra is doing his 21-day meditation challenge and guess what the subject is? Perfect Health. Thanks Deepak! Perfect timing just for me (and the millions of others who would like their health restored). Here is the link: http://www.chopracentermeditation.com. It’s free. You can listen to it anytime that is convenient for you. It’s only on day 6—Join me.
  2. I am drinking 48 oz. water per day. (Nothing more to say here, except “Just do it!”)
  3. I am staying away from fatty foods and to jump-start my clean eating I am participating in a 5-day Spring cleanse challenge. It is not a diet. It is just replacing “dirty” food with clean food. Here is the link if you are interested in joining me on that challenge: http://littleenginehealth.com/. It starts Monday, May 18th. You have time.
  4. In the next 3 weeks, I will be conducting my spring de-cluttering.
  5. My dog and I are returning to Mother Nature. I cannot wait to be in the middle of the woods with her hiking the trails.
  6. I am embracing where I have been, where I am now and looking forward to where I am going.

Mostly, I am doing all these steps with compassion and love for myself. Everyone, even life coaches, experience HARSH REALITY! But all HARSH REALITY really amounts to is the sum of what we have been vibrating, the sum of our thoughts, feelings, actions and environment. It does not reflect the field of possibilities! It is not what is ahead of us. Take your INSPIRED action steps today to affect your tomorrow! If you are not sure what the steps should be, ask the Universe. Maybe in the midst of your meditation, the answer will pop in your head or just maybe the next person you meet on the street will tell you something that resonates with you and you will know, or maybe….! Ask and it is GIVEN! That is the GREATER REALITY!
Happy Spring Everyone!