Self care is really an act of self -compassion. Compassion arises in response to witnessing suffering in ourselves or others. Suffering is a strong word, but feeling it for ourselves and others is what motivates us to act to change the experience. We can wrap our hearts around suffering if we understand it as what we experience whenever we want something to be happening differently than it is happening right now. Viewed in this way, we are likely in need of self compassion on a daily basis!
Any self-care practices we choose to adopt needs to regarded as valuable to us and be created by us in ways that we find pleasurable in order to be sustainable. Referring to value as described in this graphic by social scientist Dr. Brene Brown, do you value self-care? Determining value for self-care, that is rooted in self -compassion is essential; otherwise, we may adopt a mistaken view that our self-care is one more thing to add to our to do list, or a self-help tool we use to fix what we have come to believe is broken.
Rehearse your ABC’s to introduce yourself to the practicing self compassion:
Adopt a curious attitude along with an intention to pay kind attention to yourself as you learn a novel skill of experiencing self-compassion. Consider this an introduction to loving-kindness.
B: Be here now.
Pay attention to whether your body and your mind are in the same place at the same time in each activity you engage in through the day. Locating your attention is the first step in training your attention. Consider this an introduction to mindfulness.
Once you have found your body, attempt to stay connected to feeling your body do whatever it is you are doing. Your attention will likely wander repeatedly. The trick of the training is noticing if and when you have disconnected and then kindly re-connect yourself. Consider this an introduction to non-judgement.
Most of us will be drawn to engage in that which we enjoy, so be playful with your foray into new territory.