Let’s be honest, most techniques designed to help us cope better or achieve more feel pretty strange until they become personal. If you are one of those people who want a self-compassion technique that feels natural and personal, I have the thing for you. It’s called The Movie. Warning: If you hate movies this might be disappointing to you. Who am I kidding? You’ll probably still like it.
Imagine someone you love watching your life, the blissful and the difficult. Watch this on a movie screen with them (in your mind) and imagine how they might respond with compassion to you (the more of their mannerisms and words you can imagine the better). Hear them acknowledge your suffering, and say despite your difficulties that may you be free from harm and suffering, may you live with ease, may you be kind to yourself, and may you accept yourself just as you are. Seal it with a hug if that feels right. Use the words they would use, and their mannerisms to make it as real as can be!
If you are a person more easily prone to be compassionate to someone else’s experience than your own, I can accommodate that as well. Pick one person that you have a healthy, loving relationship with, and watch their life (struggles and successes) on a movie screen with them first, making sure to take the time to face them and acknowledge their struggles, and wish them freedom from suffering, ease, self-kindness, and self-acceptance. Seal it with a hug if that feels appropriate, and then move on to the instructions in the preceding paragraph in which they will do the same for you.
The beauty of this exercise is that our greatest resource outside of our own wish to be well is our support system or the people who love and support us. Sometimes during difficult moments these people are unavailable or we feel reluctant to contact them. This technique gives us access to these supports in a way that takes care of us, while nourishing these relationships.
Doing this practice for years, the people I have incorporated into my movies have often commented on the good will or the understanding that I have for them after mere moments of conversation or contact. I think that probably speaks to the level of understanding and compassion that develops over time, but also the wisdom about the most important elements in your shared lives that deepens as well.
The good will others feel in response to your practice will also enhance their good will for you; leading back to the idea of selfish compassion mentioned in a previous entry (being kind to yourself and others leads to more well being for you and them).
And roll ‘em! That’s movie talk for let’s get this movie stuff happening. Wishing you all much well being and self compassion.
365 Days of Kindness. Self Compassion. Day 10. In the Books.