I stayed up late on Saturday night.
Not watching episodes of Grey's or doing anything scandalous...or anything involving booze for all that matter (I know, I'm pretty boring these days), but reading a back issue of Mindful Magazine.
And I this quote JUMPED out at me. Near the back of the magazine. So I had to take a quick shot (see image above).
If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete. - Jack Kornfield
Don't know if it's just the holi-daze or the time of year, but I've found myself teaching ALL OF MY CLASSES ending with a moment of compassion not to the world, not to our families, but first to ourselves. I even did it last night after HIIT and TRX.
I know, sounds really selfish and egotistical. Maybe not something you'd expect a teacher to say during or at the close of class. But more and more, I am hitching my wagon to the belief that if we do not first and foremost love ourselves, it is practically impossible to love others.
If we are not compassionate and kind when it comes to our own short-comings, how can we be compassionate and kind when we encounter others with character flaws; the clients or customers who simply rub us the wrong way, or people who aren't at all like you?
How can we be compassionate with others if we are not compassionate with ourselves?
In short, ditto what Jack said.
If you notice you have an inner (or outer) dialogue that you might observe is negative, here are a few ideas to try on for size.
For folks who have a regular meditation practice, doesn't even have to be longer than a few minutes, there are tons of resources out there on "compassion meditation." Just Google it. Jack Kornfield even has a nice, simple post on a Meditation for Compassion that you can check out here.
For people drawn to movement, whether yoga, strength workouts or a cardio class, try at least once in the session to praise yourself for a job well done. Even for just showing up. Maybe you can't do that next chaturanga dandasana, or pull-up, or sprint interval as best as you'd like (or as well as you think the person next to you is doing it) but you're there, doing your best.
Acknowledge that and see how it feels.
Having a hard time coming up with something nice to say? I've been there before. There are loads of step-by-step articles and online products out there. Just search positive affirmations.
Here are a few I found in just a few minutes:
Bottom line is if compassion (starting with yourself) has the potential to change a lot: your life, family, workplace and community...then isn't it worth it?
And in my book, right now, with the world experiencing so much pain and suffering--abroad and in our own communities--any move towards more positivity is a step in the right direction.
And if you're still on the fence about what it might feel like to be kind to yourself--just watch this video and tell me you don't want to give a little "Hell yeah!" at the end.
Go, Jessica, go.
p.s. I'd love to know what you think about this topic. What ways do you cultivate compassion? What resources do you find inspiring? Please share in the comments below or on my Facebook page.