In my meditation and relaxation class last week we explored the practice of compassion. Compassion is literally translated as having sympathy for others and in the session we worked on developing self-compassion.

Through the practice of self-compassion you can learn to develop a sense of empathy for yourself and your past. When you develop self-compassion it then becomes easier to develop compassion for others too.

It is important to recognise the lessons from your failures and mistakes so that you can move forward from a place of experience and wisdom. However you can only move forward if you let go of beating yourself up. Self-compassion gives us the opportunity to do this and to overcome  negative thoughts about ourselves and our past mistakes. This gives us the power, power to let go of the past and to move forward and create a better future for ourselves.

So how can you develop self-compassion?  From my personal experience I have learnt to develop self compassion by becoming my own best friend. If I have made a mistake or I find that I am beating myself up over something I consciously tell myself …  ‘it is ok, everyone makes mistakes.’ I then seek to find the lesson I need to learn from the experience.

This can sometimes be easier said then done and it can often take some time to develop a sense of self-compassion. Therefore I also use the practice of journaling to help me. I use a journal to speak to myself (kindly) in the third person. I know it sounds crazy to speak to yourself but this allows us to consciously change our thought patterns to become more loving and kind.

I now ask you to take action… pull out your journal and if you don’t have a journal take a sheet of paper. Start to write to yourself in the third person and tell yourself you are loved and accepted for all your past mistakes, that you are perfect and whole in this moment. Then follow this up with any more kind thoughts that you can share with yourself.

Once you start to do this on a regular basis it becomes easier to develop a compassionate mind set for yourself and for others.

Let me know your thoughts on how you get on with this exercise as well as any useful tips or suggestions which you can share with the Yoga with Jaina community. Finally my next meditation and relaxation class is on Wednesday 25th May and we will be looking at how to overcome stress and anxiety. Spaces are limited so be sure to book your space here Meditation and Relaxation Class

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