It’s that time of year again, for new beginnings, a fresh start, a healthier, more intentional outlook. Oh yes, that again! So often in January we feel the need, and the pressure, to improve our lives by getting rid of bad habits and adopting new routines to feel better about ourselves. But so many of us have mixed feelings about this, or even a cynical view, because we know that new year’s resolutions usually fail after the first few months of the year. Also, if we are to be compassionate with ourselves, we would like to approach this transition without the trap of thinking we need to be someone brand new just to be acceptable. So how do we commit to personal growth while still holding values of self-acceptance and kindness?
Gratitude is noticing the good things that life has given us, both within us and around us. For some of us, we may say we’re grateful but we brush over the words and don’t stop to feel the grateful feelings, or like I did, slip into guilt and miss the benefits of gratitude. Those benefits, validated by research, include less stress, lower rates of depression, greater calm and resilience, better sleep, and healthier relationships.
A contemplation on the gift of service, giving ourselves self-compassion amidst the holidays and sharing that gift with others.
Sydney Spears, Ph.D, LCSW, MSC Teacher, reflects on the shared humanity present in the black experience and drawls parallels to her deepening understanding of her ancestral history.
When we feel safely connected to others we begin to feel content and safe. This loving-kindness practice can help bring you out of your threat defense system and into your care system, where you are resourced rather than reactive.
Touched by the depth of caring and authentic brotherhood he found during a recent trip to Angola Prison in Louisiana, USA, Chris Germer discovered the power of self-compassion to support those suffering under the oppressive weight of shame for their crimes, their incarceration, and their inability to care for their families while in prison. So where must we go from here?
A recent study examined the effects of dog ownership on veterans with symptoms of post-traumatic stress. This research suggests that being a dog owner may be a way to access and cultivate the warmth and comfort provided by self-compassion through connecting with the loving presence of a canine friend.
by Michelle Becker
How compassion for our partner and ourselves can help when disillusionment and negativity bias kick in.