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In Self-Compassion, Who Is Offering Compassion and Who Is Receiving Compassion? Am I Just Talking to Myself?

Rhonda shares how self-compassion is a loving alternative to the negative voice of the inner critic.

Hello, this is Rhonda Magee. And I've been asked toanswer this question. When we're engaging in self-compassion practice, who's actually offering the compassion practice and who's receiving it.? Am I just talking to myself? Well, this is a kind of question that might arise as we enter into this kind of practice for the first time. And so it's completely understandable. And as usual, with mindfulness practice of any depth, the answer is neither this nor that, or on the other hand, you might say it's both this and that.

Okay. Let me explain. And then after explaining, by the way, I want to offer a practice that might help you, even in a short period of time, experience what I mean for yourself. So with mindfulness, we are becoming aware in more and more subtle ways of just what we mean when we use the word, self. Right? So we're opening up actually, if we stay with the practices of mindfulness and if we engage in the kind of self compassion practices that I offer, we are exploring how we use the word, self.

And we're being, we're sort of being more open to just looking at how we think of ourselves in various sorts of, you know, more or less fixed ways. But before we get to this deep exploration of the self, before we're able to really look at some of these, you know, deep habits and conditionings that hold often in place a kind of hard-bounded sense of ourselves, that me in mind that is important and beautiful. Right? We need a strong sense of ourselves to accomplish things in the world. But as we hold on to that a little bit too tightly, and as we hold on to a kind of rigid definitions of me versus you, us versus them, that can also kind of get in the way of our journey toward wholeness and really living more effectively with the opportunities that life presents. So yeah, we might be deepening our exploration of who we are as we practice mindfulness, actually.

But we want to, before we start doing all of that, really just support ourselves and feeling a sense of our own worthiness. Because before any one of us can really start to explore deeply who we are and how we define ourselves, it helps just to create more spacious ability to just relax, rest, heal, feel a sense that we inherently belong. That our own lives, bodies and beings are worthy of self exploration, healing, care in working more effectively with others. And so just really allowing ourselves then to be able to open up and try new ways of thinking about this body really invites first and foremost a coming home to this body, coming home to ourselves, with love, with kindness, with a willingness to really feel our inherent belonging here and now. And indeed, as we look at what might get in the way of that, we realize that so often we are kind of moving to the world on autopilot.

And especially as we are coming out of this period of the worldwide pandemic and the heightened sense of vulnerability that we all have been experiencing, just getting by and getting through. Right now, more and more, we're shifting into, you know, the post pandemic period. And we're inviting ourselves to begin again in various different ways. But all of us might need a little bit more support because it's been a stressful time. It's been a difficult time.

So just allowing ourselves to feel, safe, grounded, a sense of our belonging. And as we explore what might get in the way of that, we know that for many of us, we have a little bit of an inner critic. Right? So if we're asking ourselves who's offering self-compassion, let's ask ourselves first, what, who is, and whether or not we know something about some part of ourselves that would stand against self-compassion. And here I'm talking about what in conventional psychological terms is sometimes called the inner critic. Right? That voice, that sort of almost automatic tape that if required and if we're willing to acknowledge, we all know something about.

That voice that we sometimes hear running sat, you know, deep within us in our almost semi-conscious state, that can be pushing. And sometimes we feel like it's a good part of us because it's pushing us as our inner cheerleader. Right? It's trying to make us do things that we think we needed to do to kind of disrupt habits and patterns and begin again. But that inner voice can sometimes be harsh. It can sometimes be the source of the sense that we don't belong, that we're not good enough.

So mindfulness practice generally can help us disrupt that inner voice, that part of ourselves that is, you know, there to offer us unhelpful thoughts about who we are. And it starts by a real, really giving us a space to come home to our bodies, to pause all the automatic, moving the hustling, the bustling, the automatic running around, even in the mind. Like, so even as we sit down, we noticed our mind is racing to and from. And so mindfulness, in and of itself, helps disrupt not only this automatic kind of always running around, physically and even of, of the mind as a quality of the mind, but also as helping disrupt that inner tape that would kind of always keep us stuck in ways of thinking that aren't serving us well. So just by practicing mindfulness, paying attention to our breath and breathing, often as we turn toward that very subtle aspect of our lives as always going just beneath the, you know, the inner critic, the voice that we need to do this, we need to do that, the voice of the thinking mind.

Just beneath all of that, just the cautious breathing, all of the regulatory processes by which we are made healthy or sometimes not so. Resting in those inner processes can open up much more subtle aspects of our experience, including again, these subtle inner dialogues, these inner tapes that might be getting in the way of our feeling ourselves well and whole. So in some sense, not only practicing mindfulness, but in particular, practicing self-compassion can really be a way of just giving ourselves a break from those, that inner voice that might be getting in the way of more kind engagement with our lives. So we are, as we engage in self-compassion practices, offering in a way an alternate voice, an alternative to the voice within ourselves that is talking to ourselves, but not in a loving way. And we're replacing that voice with a kinder one, a gentler one, a softer one, a voice really aimed at helping you alleviate your own suffering, not simply churn the thoughts that are unhelpful, churn the, you know, sort of double down on those, unkind thoughts.

You know, and I, as I say, I've experienced some of this myself as a young girl growing up. I certainly wasn't given a lot of support for feeling that I deserved rest, that I deserved to be, you know, to pause when I needed to pause. I kind of grew up feeling an anxiety, anxiety, an anxiousness around just needing to accomplish, to take care of myself, and frankly, to take care of other people in my family. And so that is a part of my own personal work. The work that has motivated me to continue looking at mindfulness as a support for healing and seeing just how self-compassion as an offer of a kind alternative to the inner voice that might churn unhelpful thoughts, the voice that says you don't get to be well, that voice that says, no, you need to work harder all the time.

Even when I'm, for example, I used to do this to myself when I wasn't feeling well, I'd hear a voice saying, oh, you don't get to be sick. Really a harsh critic. So alternatively, with self-compassion I offer now when I'm feeling not well, oh, dear one, take a break. Pause. And more and more I'm scheduling in time for breaks before I hit overwhelm, before I need a big vacation.

On a daily basis, on a weekly basis, giving myself a, as Henry David Thoreau, an American who's, who lived a century, a century or so ago, but whose teachings around how to live more abundantly in the natural world and in our own life. You know, he talked about giving a wide margin to our days. And so, yeah, self-compassion can help you shift from waves of talking to yourself that set you up for running around anxiously and feeling always, you know, just a few steps removed from your own body and wellness. It can deliver you into yeah, a way of talking to yourself that gives yourself permission to take breaks, to pause as you need to, to restore, to give yourself this wide margin, when and as appropriate. Again, there are times when we have to move, move, move.

But if you're like me, if you are constantly rushing and running, then even when you're given time to take a break to take a vacation, you need the first couple of days just to disrupt the pattern of running, running, running. So in short, mindfulness and self-compassion practices then can help you notice those habits that characterize the inner language that can disrupt the inner resources that we have for wellbeing. And replace that inner language of, you know, pushing and you must do more with an inner language of love and kindness. And as we do that, we are able to experience more of our own everyday ability to restore, to fill, a constant ability to fill ourselves with our own inner resources for wellbeing. So let's pause just for a moment here and breathe in and breathe out.

And just invite an inquiry. Who is this person that's asking this question about when I offer self-compassion to myself, who's doing the offering and who's receiving? Breathing in and breathing out, asking yourself, who's asking that question? Who are you really as you breathe in and out? Yes, you can. Here's another way to engage in this practice. Invite this prompt, I am... Right? Fill in the blank.

I am... And the first thing that comes up might be your name. Right? The conventional ways you define yourself. For me, I'm a law professor. I'm a mindfulness teacher.

Ha. But if we invite again, I am... I am... We might open up to, I am this breath. I am this moment.

Ah. We might notice beyond the resume, beyond the hardbounded sense of ourselves in this particular body that we've been given to travel this earth, in this lifetime. Beyond all of this, we are just this flow of this moment's experience. And if we can bring more love and support and more willingness to feel the spaciousness, that is an everyday part of our experience, we can flow in and out of whatever challenges us. We can take up the identities that serve as we engage in the world and offer support and practice our professions.

But we can also let go when the time comes to learn, to experience different parts of ourselves. In short mindfulness and self-compassion practices give us a way of more subtly appreciating the depths of who we are, of experiencing the multitudes of ourselves, and offering a loving voice of support for all those ways that we might get stuck in a limited sense of ourselves, in a wounded sense of ourselves and, and actually might need the support of the loving voice of healing, of possibility, of remembering who you really are as a support for your journey. So keep practicing just like this. I am so grateful to have this moment of, of being here to offer an introduction to self-compassion as a support for you and a means for you to experiment with what a self-compassion practice might look like for you. Whatever you do from this moment on, the invitation really is just to give yourself permission to love yourself just a little bit more, to be a little bit more gentle with yourself, and to embed the will to be curious about how you could love yourself just a little bit more as you do the work you're given to do in the world, as you help others.

Just allowing yourself to embed that on a regular basis with gentleness and kindness. Giving yourself permission for that is what this journey is about. May you be well. May you be safe from here.

Talk

4.6

In Self-Compassion, Who Is Offering Compassion and Who Is Receiving Compassion? Am I Just Talking to Myself?

Rhonda shares how self-compassion is a loving alternative to the negative voice of the inner critic.

Duration

Your default time is based on your progress and is changed automatically as you practice.

Hello, this is Rhonda Magee. And I've been asked toanswer this question. When we're engaging in self-compassion practice, who's actually offering the compassion practice and who's receiving it.? Am I just talking to myself? Well, this is a kind of question that might arise as we enter into this kind of practice for the first time. And so it's completely understandable. And as usual, with mindfulness practice of any depth, the answer is neither this nor that, or on the other hand, you might say it's both this and that.

Okay. Let me explain. And then after explaining, by the way, I want to offer a practice that might help you, even in a short period of time, experience what I mean for yourself. So with mindfulness, we are becoming aware in more and more subtle ways of just what we mean when we use the word, self. Right? So we're opening up actually, if we stay with the practices of mindfulness and if we engage in the kind of self compassion practices that I offer, we are exploring how we use the word, self.

And we're being, we're sort of being more open to just looking at how we think of ourselves in various sorts of, you know, more or less fixed ways. But before we get to this deep exploration of the self, before we're able to really look at some of these, you know, deep habits and conditionings that hold often in place a kind of hard-bounded sense of ourselves, that me in mind that is important and beautiful. Right? We need a strong sense of ourselves to accomplish things in the world. But as we hold on to that a little bit too tightly, and as we hold on to a kind of rigid definitions of me versus you, us versus them, that can also kind of get in the way of our journey toward wholeness and really living more effectively with the opportunities that life presents. So yeah, we might be deepening our exploration of who we are as we practice mindfulness, actually.

But we want to, before we start doing all of that, really just support ourselves and feeling a sense of our own worthiness. Because before any one of us can really start to explore deeply who we are and how we define ourselves, it helps just to create more spacious ability to just relax, rest, heal, feel a sense that we inherently belong. That our own lives, bodies and beings are worthy of self exploration, healing, care in working more effectively with others. And so just really allowing ourselves then to be able to open up and try new ways of thinking about this body really invites first and foremost a coming home to this body, coming home to ourselves, with love, with kindness, with a willingness to really feel our inherent belonging here and now. And indeed, as we look at what might get in the way of that, we realize that so often we are kind of moving to the world on autopilot.

And especially as we are coming out of this period of the worldwide pandemic and the heightened sense of vulnerability that we all have been experiencing, just getting by and getting through. Right now, more and more, we're shifting into, you know, the post pandemic period. And we're inviting ourselves to begin again in various different ways. But all of us might need a little bit more support because it's been a stressful time. It's been a difficult time.

So just allowing ourselves to feel, safe, grounded, a sense of our belonging. And as we explore what might get in the way of that, we know that for many of us, we have a little bit of an inner critic. Right? So if we're asking ourselves who's offering self-compassion, let's ask ourselves first, what, who is, and whether or not we know something about some part of ourselves that would stand against self-compassion. And here I'm talking about what in conventional psychological terms is sometimes called the inner critic. Right? That voice, that sort of almost automatic tape that if required and if we're willing to acknowledge, we all know something about.

That voice that we sometimes hear running sat, you know, deep within us in our almost semi-conscious state, that can be pushing. And sometimes we feel like it's a good part of us because it's pushing us as our inner cheerleader. Right? It's trying to make us do things that we think we needed to do to kind of disrupt habits and patterns and begin again. But that inner voice can sometimes be harsh. It can sometimes be the source of the sense that we don't belong, that we're not good enough.

So mindfulness practice generally can help us disrupt that inner voice, that part of ourselves that is, you know, there to offer us unhelpful thoughts about who we are. And it starts by a real, really giving us a space to come home to our bodies, to pause all the automatic, moving the hustling, the bustling, the automatic running around, even in the mind. Like, so even as we sit down, we noticed our mind is racing to and from. And so mindfulness, in and of itself, helps disrupt not only this automatic kind of always running around, physically and even of, of the mind as a quality of the mind, but also as helping disrupt that inner tape that would kind of always keep us stuck in ways of thinking that aren't serving us well. So just by practicing mindfulness, paying attention to our breath and breathing, often as we turn toward that very subtle aspect of our lives as always going just beneath the, you know, the inner critic, the voice that we need to do this, we need to do that, the voice of the thinking mind.

Just beneath all of that, just the cautious breathing, all of the regulatory processes by which we are made healthy or sometimes not so. Resting in those inner processes can open up much more subtle aspects of our experience, including again, these subtle inner dialogues, these inner tapes that might be getting in the way of our feeling ourselves well and whole. So in some sense, not only practicing mindfulness, but in particular, practicing self-compassion can really be a way of just giving ourselves a break from those, that inner voice that might be getting in the way of more kind engagement with our lives. So we are, as we engage in self-compassion practices, offering in a way an alternate voice, an alternative to the voice within ourselves that is talking to ourselves, but not in a loving way. And we're replacing that voice with a kinder one, a gentler one, a softer one, a voice really aimed at helping you alleviate your own suffering, not simply churn the thoughts that are unhelpful, churn the, you know, sort of double down on those, unkind thoughts.

You know, and I, as I say, I've experienced some of this myself as a young girl growing up. I certainly wasn't given a lot of support for feeling that I deserved rest, that I deserved to be, you know, to pause when I needed to pause. I kind of grew up feeling an anxiety, anxiety, an anxiousness around just needing to accomplish, to take care of myself, and frankly, to take care of other people in my family. And so that is a part of my own personal work. The work that has motivated me to continue looking at mindfulness as a support for healing and seeing just how self-compassion as an offer of a kind alternative to the inner voice that might churn unhelpful thoughts, the voice that says you don't get to be well, that voice that says, no, you need to work harder all the time.

Even when I'm, for example, I used to do this to myself when I wasn't feeling well, I'd hear a voice saying, oh, you don't get to be sick. Really a harsh critic. So alternatively, with self-compassion I offer now when I'm feeling not well, oh, dear one, take a break. Pause. And more and more I'm scheduling in time for breaks before I hit overwhelm, before I need a big vacation.

On a daily basis, on a weekly basis, giving myself a, as Henry David Thoreau, an American who's, who lived a century, a century or so ago, but whose teachings around how to live more abundantly in the natural world and in our own life. You know, he talked about giving a wide margin to our days. And so, yeah, self-compassion can help you shift from waves of talking to yourself that set you up for running around anxiously and feeling always, you know, just a few steps removed from your own body and wellness. It can deliver you into yeah, a way of talking to yourself that gives yourself permission to take breaks, to pause as you need to, to restore, to give yourself this wide margin, when and as appropriate. Again, there are times when we have to move, move, move.

But if you're like me, if you are constantly rushing and running, then even when you're given time to take a break to take a vacation, you need the first couple of days just to disrupt the pattern of running, running, running. So in short, mindfulness and self-compassion practices then can help you notice those habits that characterize the inner language that can disrupt the inner resources that we have for wellbeing. And replace that inner language of, you know, pushing and you must do more with an inner language of love and kindness. And as we do that, we are able to experience more of our own everyday ability to restore, to fill, a constant ability to fill ourselves with our own inner resources for wellbeing. So let's pause just for a moment here and breathe in and breathe out.

And just invite an inquiry. Who is this person that's asking this question about when I offer self-compassion to myself, who's doing the offering and who's receiving? Breathing in and breathing out, asking yourself, who's asking that question? Who are you really as you breathe in and out? Yes, you can. Here's another way to engage in this practice. Invite this prompt, I am... Right? Fill in the blank.

I am... And the first thing that comes up might be your name. Right? The conventional ways you define yourself. For me, I'm a law professor. I'm a mindfulness teacher.

Ha. But if we invite again, I am... I am... We might open up to, I am this breath. I am this moment.

Ah. We might notice beyond the resume, beyond the hardbounded sense of ourselves in this particular body that we've been given to travel this earth, in this lifetime. Beyond all of this, we are just this flow of this moment's experience. And if we can bring more love and support and more willingness to feel the spaciousness, that is an everyday part of our experience, we can flow in and out of whatever challenges us. We can take up the identities that serve as we engage in the world and offer support and practice our professions.

But we can also let go when the time comes to learn, to experience different parts of ourselves. In short mindfulness and self-compassion practices give us a way of more subtly appreciating the depths of who we are, of experiencing the multitudes of ourselves, and offering a loving voice of support for all those ways that we might get stuck in a limited sense of ourselves, in a wounded sense of ourselves and, and actually might need the support of the loving voice of healing, of possibility, of remembering who you really are as a support for your journey. So keep practicing just like this. I am so grateful to have this moment of, of being here to offer an introduction to self-compassion as a support for you and a means for you to experiment with what a self-compassion practice might look like for you. Whatever you do from this moment on, the invitation really is just to give yourself permission to love yourself just a little bit more, to be a little bit more gentle with yourself, and to embed the will to be curious about how you could love yourself just a little bit more as you do the work you're given to do in the world, as you help others.

Just allowing yourself to embed that on a regular basis with gentleness and kindness. Giving yourself permission for that is what this journey is about. May you be well. May you be safe from here.

Talk

4.6

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Won’t Self-Compassion and Acceptance Take Away My Ambition to Improve Myself?Talk by Rhonda Magee
Rhonda Magee
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