Self-Compassion can be found in all things. One of my favorite ways to find self-compassion is in the caring animal video variety. It is a great transition move. Imagine this. You are at work. You have just been through a messy meeting with your boss or a difficult call with a client. You are too overwhelmed to get back to work or do the self-compassion techniques we have talked about thus far. My simple answer is to plop down in front of your computer or cue up on your phone a youtube video of animals behaving kindly to humans or other animals. I call this vicarious compassion.
Nurturing animals have the habit of taking care of others, and themselves. The cat, who is taking care of her kittens, also cleans her own fur. The mother bear, who finds food for her cubs also takes the time to eat. The lion playing with a beloved human also takes the time to roll onto his back, and wiggle around to scratch an itch on it. We watch these videos, and start to feel better immediately. Other compassion and self-compassion are contagious, and we begin to feel better taken care of, and more hopeful.
We have all watched these videos, but the important thing to learn here is when to use them, and how to use them. The when is when you have just come from a stressful situation, and need to reset your system, and experience some compassion. The how is that you must act on the feeling of compassion these videos generate by doing something really kind for yourself immediately after. This is what I call Acting. It is what you need to do after the vicarious compassion to make sure that you have converted the compassion you have seen to compassion for yourself.
Taking the time to give yourself self-compassion means that you will strengthen the connection between watching the videos, and being kind to yourself. So, when you watch them in the future, their ability to make you feel better will be even greater than before. Additionally, the videos will remind you to take care of yourself, which is helpful because reminders to take care of yourself can be scarce, but these cuddly animal videos never are. Booyah! You have been self-compassioned.
You thought there was more? Nope. That is it! Sometimes, it helps for these exercises to be easy and small. It increases the chance that you will use them, and remember them. Wishing you much self-compassion, and many, many, many heart warming animal videos.
365 Days of Self-Compassion. Day 139. In The Books.