Self-Compassion II

“….when we expect other people to meet all our emotional needs, we get angry and frustrated when those needs aren’t met, especially right away.

“….What’s beautiful about self-compassion is you can meet a lot of your own needs.

“….If you validate your own emotions and give yourself compassion for them, for instance, “This is really hard. I feel really overwhelmed. I’m so angry. It’s so hard to be feeling this…but it’s going to be okay.” This is like giving yourself support: “I’m here for you, and I care about you.” You’re giving yourself a lot of what you really need, and when you do that, you aren’t so needy or dependent on your partner to give you the response you want.

“….Self-criticism activates the threat defense system, releases cortisol, and causes a lot of anxiety. It’s like a stressed state of the sympathetic nervous system. Self-compassion activates the mammalian care-giving system. This makes us feel soothed and comforted and meets that attachment need. In some ways you can say, we are meeting our own attachment needs, which we also know helps us to have better relationships as well as activate the parasympathetic nervous system, so we’re in a calmer state.”

Excerpt on a discussion: Practicing Kindness Toward Oneself: Mindfulness and the Science of Self-Compassion. A webinar session with Dr. Ruth Buczynski and Dr. Kristin Neff.

Here’s my suggestion on how to be more self-compassionate.
1. Tend to your emotions:
Acknowledge your feelings without judgment. Just feel it and experience it without trying to get rid of it. Look at it curiously so that you are looking at what you are going through more objectively. Remember to soften your eyes as you do it.

2. Tend to your thoughts:
When you have thoughts that are negative, say “It’s just a thought. It doesn’t mean it’s true.” Also tell yourself “It’s going to be okay and it will pass.” It may help to think of what you would say to a loved one who is going through a painful time. How would you comfort that person? If there are no words, just say “I’ll be here with you. It’s okay whatever you are feeling and for however long it takes.”

3. Emotion will return:
You may feel better but only briefly. The thoughts may come up again and again. It’s okay. Just repeat 1 and 2 until it’s no longer an issue. You’ll feel nurtured. When you keep doing this, your compassion will spread towards others.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Self-Compassion II

Let Go of Fantasies

Have you noticed how often life doesn’t go your way?
And how often do you wish your life or the people around you were different?
In your head, you have ideas about how life should be, how people should be, and even how you should be. Keep in mind that the life you have is the reality and the life you want is just fantasy.
As challenging as life and people are at times, resistance to what is makes the situation more frustrating than it needs to be. You’re not in control of these things and it’s unrealistic to expect life and people to conform to your narrative. It’s like swimming upstream.
Letting go of what’s in your head means accepting reality. Try letting go of how you think life should be, and accept what is. Try taking the people in your head out, and accepting the people right in front of you. It actually will make your life easier since you’ll be swimming with the current.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Let Go of Fantasies

Cages of the Mind

Mohini was a regal white tiger who lived for many years at the Washington, D.C. National Zoo. For most of those years her home was in the old lion house – a typical twelve-by-twelve-foot cage with iron bars and a cement floor. Mohini spent her days pacing restlessly back and forth in her cramped quarters. Eventually, biologists and staff worked together to create a natural habitat for her. Covering several acres, it had hills, trees, a pond and a variety of vegetation. With excitement and anticipation they released Mohini into her new and expansive environment. But it was too late. The tiger immediately sought refuge in a corner of the compound, where she lived for the remainder of her life. Mohini paced and paced in that corner until an area twelve by twelve feet was worn bare of grass.

Excerpt from Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life with the Heart of a Buddha by Tara Brach, Ph.D.

There is within us an ego. This ego wants to present to the world a certain image and identity. So it looks like it is protecting us and guiding us. You can know it’s your ego when you have thoughts like:

  • “Don’t say that, you’ll embarrass yourself.”
  • “Don’t do that, it can be a big mistake.”
  • “I’m not good at [fill in something you’d like to be good at].”
  • “I am [fill in something that you think limits you].”

But does it really protect us or does it make us afraid to be who we truly are? Does it really guide us or does it keep us in a small area like Mohini? It has the illusion of giving us a solid identity. But we are really creating walls around ourselves. By believing the thoughts produced by our ego, we confine ourselves to that small area and become more afraid to step out of that comfort zone. We then become prisoners of that false self.

If you would like to live fearlessly, try freeing yourself from that ego. Visualize yourself opening the cage and walking away from it. It will help you to see more clearly who you truly are, a limitless being.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Cages of the Mind

Improving Communication by Listening

Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.~Stephen Covey

Have you noticed how we don’t take the time to really listen to one another? Our thoughts race about what we want to say, the point we want to make, or a good response we want to give. We are so busy with our own thoughts that we hear very little of what the other person is saying. Then, as though that’s not egregious enough, we interrupt the person because what we have to say is so urgent and so much more important. We don’t realize how rude and insensitive we are.

Good communication is a skill that needs to be honed. It doesn’t come naturally. It starts with just listening, just giving your full attention to the other person. As the listener, you can make it safe for the other person to talk by being aware of your facial expression. Make sure there isn’t a sign of judgment or even an overreaction to what’s being said. See if you can just listen without saying a word. Much of communication is nonverbal, and often we aren’t consciously aware of it.  So even if you’re not saying anything, you are communicating something. Speak only after the person is done speaking; give advice only if the person specifically asks for it.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Improving Communication by Listening

Life is a Teacher

Capability often manifests in the way in which we survive difficult events. For example, a long-time Buddhist practitioner I met recently had invested heavily in the stock market back in the 1990s, and when the market fell later in the decade, he lost everything. Many of his friends and partners had also lost a great deal of money, and some of them went a little crazy. Some lost confidence in themselves and their ability to make decisions; some fell into deep depression; others, like the people who lost money during the stock market crash of 1929, jumped out of windows.  But he didn’t lose his mind or his confidence, or fall into depression. Slowly, he began investing again and built up a new, solid financial base.

Seeing his apparent calm in the face of such a terrific downturn of events, a number of his friends and associates asked him how he was able to retain his equanimity. “Well,” he replied, “I got all this money from the stock market, then it went back to the stock market, and now it’s coming back. Conditions change, but I’m still here. I can make decisions. So maybe I was living in a big house one year and sleeping on a friend’s couch the next. That doesn’t change the fact that I can choose how to think about myself and all the stuff happening around me. I consider myself very fortunate, in fact. Some people aren’t capable of choosing and some people don’t recognize that they can choose. I guess I’m lucky because I fall into the category of people who are able to recognize their capacity for choice.”

Excerpt from Joyful Wisdom by Yongey Mingur Rinpoche.


When there are setbacks small or great, try to work on accepting what has happened. It is during life’s trials that we can truly find the capabilities within us, but only when we make adjustment to how we look at our predicaments.

  • Allow yourself to feel the various emotions (disappointment, anger, sadness, or fear) without judgment.  Show self-compassion.
  • Rather than dwelling on how you want life to be, say, “this is my situation now”. Let go of your fantasies. You may have to say again and again, “this is where I am” or “this is what I am going through.”
  • Ask yourself, “what can I learn from this situation?” or “what is this situation showing me what I need to work on?”

You’ll feel more empowered and take charge of your situation. You’ll be able to move on from it stronger and wiser. The longer it lasts, the more you’ll be honed.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Life is a Teacher


Study after study shows that self-criticism is consistently associated with less motivation and worse self-control. It is also one of the single biggest predictors of depression, which drains both “I will” power and “I want” power. In Contrast, self-compassion – being supportive and kind to yourself, especially in the face of stress and failure – is associated with more motivation and better self-control.

Surprisingly, it’s forgiveness, not guilt that increases accountability. Researchers have found that taking a self-compassionate point of view on a personal failure makes people more likely to take personal responsibility for the failure than when they take a self-critical point of view. They are also more willing to receive feedback and advice from others, and more likely to learn from the experience.

On the other hand, if you view your setbacks as evidence that you are a hopeless loser who screws everything up, thinking about your failure is a miserable exercise in self-hate. Your most urgent goal will be to soothe those feelings, not learn from your experience…. Like other forms of stress, it drives you straight to comfort coping, whether that’s drowning your sorrows at the nearest bar, or lifting your spirits with a Visa-sponsored shopping spree.

Excerpt from The Will Power Instinct by Kelly McGonigal


Learn to become your own best friend. Don’t become your worst enemy. The next time you make a mistake or feel stressed, see if you can talk to yourself like you would to a close friend who is going through a tough time. Put your right hand on your heart and breathe slowly with the pain as you say comforting words. Try not to judge why you feel the way you do. All that matters is that it hurts or it’s uncomfortable. It needs to be tended to. Do this, until you feel calm and comforted. You may need to repeat this at various times, until the pain or stress caused by that incident is laid to rest.




Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Self-Compassion

Perception and Reality

Your brain creates your reality. It is not what happens to you in life that determines how you feel; it is how your brain perceives reality that makes it so. Most people are unaware that they are controlled not by events or people but by the perception that their brains makes of them. . . .

Equation: A+B=C

A – actual event
B – how we interpret or perceive the event
C – how we react to the event

Most people think that (A) things in life, what happens to us, determine our behavior. In large part it is actually the (B) stuff.  Other people or events, (A) cannot make us do anything. It is our brains’ interpretation or perception, (B) that causes our behavior (C).

Excerpt from Making a Good Brain Great By Daniel G. Amen, M.D.

Next time you are upset with someone, take a step back and look at how you are interpreting that person’s action. Rather than just accepting the first interpretation, look for other ways of interpreting the person’s behavior. Often you may be able to see that it isn’t personal. It’s when you take it personally that it really hurts. When you’re hurt it’s not easy to respond intelligently. By changing your perception, it may no longer be a big deal: you can easily let it go.


Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Perception and Reality

Letting Go of Anger

The Dalai Lama shows no anger toward the Chinese, even though the policy of the Chinese government for years has been to practice genocide toward Tibetans, culturcide toward their institutions, beliefs, and everything they hold dear, and genocide toward the very land they live on. When asked about his apparent lack of anger towards the Chinese by an incredulous reporter at the time he won the Nobel Peace Prize, the Dalai Lama replied something to the effect that: “They have taken everything from us; should I let them take my mind as well?”

~Excerpt from Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabot-Zinn.

Anger is a normal human emotion. When anger rises, allow yourself to feel it without taking it out on a person or property. Take a walk, lift weights or swim. As you do so, breathe in the anger. Once you are calmer, breathe out forgiveness or calm. Holding onto anger only hurts you, not the person who hurt you.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Letting Go of Anger

Thoughts are Powerful

Thoughts are powerful. It is the creation of our mind’s work. We tend to dwell on the negative and don’t realize how the mind fabricates a story around it, creating more anxiety, fear, anger, and depression. Therefore, we create our own suffering. By becoming aware of our thoughts and emotions, we can acknowledge them without judgment and simply let go without putting so much meaning into them.

A great way to let go of thoughts is to focus on the present moment by bringing your full attention to what it is you are doing at the moment. You will be happier by staying present.

Below is a recent TEDTalk on Happiness that’s well worth 15-20 minutes of your time.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Thoughts are Powerful

Life’s Challenges

Do you believe that every challenge can make you stronger, wiser, happier, and more whole?

Life often doesn’t happen the way you expect or want. Any barrier, hardship, or problem can be seen as an opportunity to learn about yourself and to grow.

You can start with small hassles of life like standing in a long line or when stuck in traffic. Rather than thinking why the service or traffic is so slow and getting more and more frustrated, you can just focus on your breath (breathing slowly and deeply) and remind yourself that you don’t have control of the line or traffic. You have a chance to practice patience and tolerance. The result is you will feel calmer and happier.

Posted on by admin | Comments Off on Life’s Challenges