This week I was introducing the self-compassion break to a wonderful group of palliative care patients at a hospice where I work.
I’ve taken Kristin Neff’s ideas and amended them slightly in creating my own self-compassion break. This is something to fall back on in times of difficulty, pain, self-judgement etc. The self-compassion break is comprised of three elements which you repeat to yourself such as:
- this is a moment of suffering (this hurts, just acknowledging it’s hard right now to be feeling this), so this is a moment of suffering …
- and suffering is part of the human experience, it’s part of human life, its ok we all go through it
- so may I be kind to myself in this moment, may I give myself the compassion I need, and that’s key reminding myself what do I really need right now and then giving it to myself
The idea is to devise your own set of phrases that work for you and then memorise them a bit like a mantra. Mine are:
This is painful
Everybody hurts sometimes (REM song!)
What’s the kindest thing I can do for myself right now/what do I need right now?
I explained that I had thought of the REM song to represent that sense of not being the only one in pain in this moment and the group really liked that linking to a piece of music. We had some fun playing around with some suggestions but we struggled a little with songs for the third element of ‘asking what’s the kindest thing I can do for myself now?’ I ran out of ideas but promised I would come back to them next Monday with a longer list.
But I’m struggling and would really welcome any ideas you have for suitable songs. Some suggestions so far are:
- Free – Ultranate
- Try a Little Tenderness – Otis Redding
- Bridge Over Troubled Water -Simon & Garfunkel
- One -U2
If you can think of any songs (however weird and wonderful!) that for you capture a sense of self-kindness or would remind you to be kind to yourself could you please, please post them in the Comments section below. That will really encourage others and get them inspired by your suggestions. And then I can take your ideas back to the group on Monday – and I think the thought that others have come up with some suggestions for them will be very powerful. Thank you.