Self-compassion for young people, now more than ever
Life is hard. And for young adults taking flight into the world for the first time, the stressors can be especially impactful. As people in Generation Z step into the sphere of adulting, many face enormous burdens of work/school pressure, loneliness, and despair.
And with few tools to manage these challenges, young adults are struggling. According to the American Psychological Association, 91% of those age 18-21 report that they have experienced at least one physical or emotional symptom due to stress in the past month, compared to 74% of all adults.
These numbers can’t be ignored, and CMSC is dedicated to sharing with our community of young people any support that is available to them.
Co-created by Karen Bluth and Alayna Fender, EYL is a 6-week course that teaches young people how to cultivate the skill of self-compassion. Designed for those 18-30, EYL helps young people to identify and use resources that they ALREADY have within them to bring relief to their hectic daily lives. It also teaches how to identify the unreasonable expectations for accomplishment and perfection that many young adults have learned along the way and offers concrete ways of counterbalancing those unattainable standards with more sustainable, realistic aspirations for themselves.
Compassion is what arises when we see suffering and have an authentic desire to help alleviate that suffering. It’s for this reason that Embracing Your Life (EYL) was created.
Participants begin to shift their understanding of the pressure they may be experiencing so that when they fail to “measure up” to unrealistic expectations, they can meet that experience with clarity, kindness, and understanding, as opposed to relentless self-criticism and a drive to push themselves even harder. From this place of self-kindness, people find the intrinsic motivation to continue working toward what is in their own best interest. In EYL, participants also learn the skills they need to soak up the benefit of the good things that are happening around them as a way to find restoration in the midst of their daily lives.
EYL graduate, Ashleigh Montford, describes her experience this way:
“Not only was this course life-altering, but it started the chain reaction of the dismantling of the social constructs that have completely engulfed my life – before this course. I am able to see a forever change in my perception of the world, in my recognition of how I was completely obliterating my self-esteem, and sensing what it is that my being needs. I do not say this lightly when I articulate the fact that this course started something inside of me. I realized that there was a change that needed to be sufficient enough to save my life, again. Before this self-compassion course was introduced into my realm, I was on this arduous merry-go-round of emotional distress from the lack of humanness I was neglecting to give myself. So when I say I am grateful, I am grateful. I am thankful for the time spent pouring selflessly into my spirit, the techniques taught and instilled in me, and the intention of wanting to see me heal. The memories of grace extended to me will reside within me and always jog reminders to give myself the same. A very special thank you to my peers, you all are phenomenal. Thank you for the non-judgmental environment. Thank you.”
We at CMSC would like to offer a heartfelt invitation and request that you share about this program with any young adults you know who could benefit from connecting with their own steadfast inner ally and coach. Because in a world as uncertain as ours, cultivating stability, self-compassion, and wisdom are not just nice qualities to have, they are essential life skills.