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  • Writer's pictureAnn Manning

Mindful Self-Compassion - Healing Through the Heart

Updated: Oct 11, 2023

Five years ago I took part in a course called Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC). It a was powerful and enriching experience. I gained understanding and resources to lovingly support myself, especially at times of struggle or self doubt.

I was so inspired by the course that, the same year I undertook training to teach this course. And my appreciation of the importance and value of this course only increased. When we apply the practices that are taught in MSC, they support us to be kinder to ourselves, especially at times when we are experiencing challenge. We become more resilient, and our compassion for others is enhanced.

The Centre for Mindful Self-Compassion website provides the following in depth description of MSC:

What is Self-Compassion?

Having compassion for oneself is really no different than having compassion for others. Think about what the experience of compassion feels like.

  • First, to have compassion for others you must notice that they are suffering. If you ignore that homeless person on the street, you can’t feel compassion for how difficult his or her life may be.

  • Second, compassion involves feeling moved by others’ suffering so that your heart responds to their pain (the word compassion literally means to “suffer with”). When this occurs, you feel warmth, caring, and the desire to help the suffering person in some way. Having compassion also means that you offer understanding and kindness to others when they fail or make mistakes, rather than judging them harshly.

  • Finally, when you feel compassion for another (rather than mere pity), it means that you realise that suffering, failure, and imperfection is part of the shared human experience. “Just like me…”

Self-compassion involves responding in the same supportive and understanding way you would with a good friend when you have a difficult time, fail, or notice something you don’t like about yourself.

Instead of just ignoring your pain with a “stiff upper lip” mentality, you stop to tell yourself “this is really difficult right now… How can I comfort and care for myself in this moment?" Instead of mercilessly judging and criticising yourself for various inadequacies or shortcomings, self-compassion means you are kind and understanding when confronted with personal failings – after all, who ever said you were supposed to be perfect? You may try to change in ways that allow you to be more healthy and happy, but this is done because you care about yourself, not because you are worthless or unacceptable as you are.

Perhaps most importantly, having compassion for yourself means that you honour and accept your humanness. Things will not always go the way you want them to. You will encounter frustrations, losses will occur, you will make mistakes, bump up against your limitations, fall short of your ideals. This is the human condition, a reality shared by all of us. The more you open your heart to this reality instead of constantly fighting against it, the more you will be able to feel compassion for yourself and all your fellow humans in the experience of life.

I offer courses based on Mindful Self-Compassion here in Sydney. I have simplified the original 8 weeks x 2 3/4 hour course to one I callNurturing Self-Compassion. Nurturing Self-Compassion is a five-week course with each session lasting 1 1/2 hours. The next course starts on 5 August 2023 and is based in North Sydney. You can learn more about it here: https://www.restoringhealth.com.au/nurturing-self-compassion


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