As a teacher of self-compassion, you’ve been moved by MSC. Perhaps you’ve even found it life-changing. So have I. In fact, each time I run into an emotional obstacle and I feel that familiar discomfort and sense of internal struggle, I remind myself to return to my lovingkindness phrases. May I know that I am safe. May I know that I am safe.
Having grown up in an environment that was not safe, where at times I even feared for my life, I often find myself in “defense mode.” Ready to battle for my beliefs and opinions, secure my argument, do whatever it takes to ensure I am well and safe. Until I remember, that I am safe. Quite safe, in fact. My life in so many important ways these days is stable. And even — dare I say it — full of poignant moments of gratitude and joy.
Much of this is attributable to my mindfulness and self-compassion practice. So my mission in life has been to help find ways for teens to navigate this challenging period of life also feeling a bit more safe and with a bit more ease – something that completely eluded me when I was a teen.
“Practicing MSC continues to deepen my understanding of the full picture of this being human. As my understanding grows, my tenderness to what I find grows.”
– Tina Gibson, MFY Co-Teacher and MSC Teacher Trainer
Alarming statistics require action
Teens often live in a world where they constantly feel under scrutiny. Every waking moment is filled with a sense that they are being watched, their flaws exposed as if under a microscope. They compare themselves to their peers and feel that they come up short. They feel inadequate, unworthy, and often consumed with shame. The feeling of emotional safety often eludes them.
And the numbers bear that out. Anxiety, depression, and stress statistics are through the roof. For example, from 2012-2015, depression increased among girls by 50% and among boys by 21%. Compared to 2007, in 2015, three times as many girls and twice as many boys took their own lives. These statistics terrify me, as I imagine they terrify you, and terrify anyone who tries to live with an open heart.
What can we do? How can we help?
If you would like to help, consider becoming trained to teach Making Friends with Yourself: A Mindful Self-Compassion Program for Teens. Teens who have taken this research-based program have less stress after the program is over, and a 3-year NIH-funded study is currently underway at University of North Carolina to further assess the program.
If you feel so inclined, please check out our pages on the CMSC website, the MFY website, and my own website. And if working with teens isn’t your thing, know that you can still help them by the work that you do with the adults in their lives. Thanks for being part of the MSC family!
MFY Teacher Training, Melbourne, Australia
March 1 – 7, 2019
with Karen Bluth (MFY Co-Developer)
and Tina Gibson (MSC Teacher Trainer and Mentor)
Prerequisites for the program are as follows:
✓ Previous experience working with teens in either a clinical or educational setting,
✓ Successful completion of the adult MSC course.
✓ An ongoing self-compassion practice