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How to Build Self Compassion

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Ann Miller, Mar 8, 2022.

  1. Ann Miller

    Ann Miller Well known member

    Building Self Compassion Through Stages


    We hear it time and again, “Treat yourself with compassion.” or “You’re too hard on yourself; forgive yourself.” But how exactly do we do this when we have a lifetime of self criticism and judgment? How do we learn to feel authentic empathy for ourselves and not just pretend to be self compassionate by saying the right words and hoping to “fake it till we make it?” Here I introduce the method that worked for me and many clients. Read on and ask questions if you have them.


    I like to employ a model I call Self Compassion Stages. It’s very simple and very powerful. First recall yourself at various ages. You should be able to vividly see yourself at that age without triggering too much trauma. Sadness is fine. I chose the ages of small child (5 or 6), child (10), adolescent (13), high school (16), college (20), young working woman (25), young mother (33), the ramping up time of my chronic illnesses (45 ish), empty nester (52 ish) and current (59!) You see here that I have a lot of little stages, not just child and adult. This is where the magic happens.


    Now that you have identified your ages, start with the youngest one and visualize yourself as that small child. See your hair and eyes, your surroundings, the situation you are in. It might be playing a favorite game or in distress somehow. But really see “little you.” Journal or talk through your situation. How are you feeling as that child? Can you see why you acted the way you acted AT THAT TIME? Take your time here. If you can’t understand your actions at this age, then just stay here for the next journal or talk session that you do. If you were able to completely see little you and offer true compassion for the child you were and how you were trying to survive in the world, then rest here and bask in that self compassion. Next session, move to the next older version of you and repeat the process.


    Over time you will work your way older and older until you finally are giving yourself compassion in the current day. Expect some ages to be more difficult than others and to take more time to get to honest compassion. For instance, I got stuck in the “young working woman” stage for multiple sessions. But it is imperative that I really see, own, and forgive myself at that age. Do not hurry the process. Just allow it to unfold. Forgiveness of self, the flaws we have and the mistakes we make, is a precious gift in doing this work.

    My best to each of you.
    www.pathsbeyond pain.com
     
    lina203 and hawaii_five0 like this.

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