1 – Do Something Kind For Yourself
Sharon Salzberg wrote a wonderful book called “The Kindness Handbook”. It’s divided into three sections, The Foundation, The Entry and The Expression, each section helping people better understand aspects of kindness. For our purposes this week, kindness to oneself, I want to share something from The Entry due to its focus on love and compassion for ourselves, which you will come to know is the core of our class.
Specific to this, Salzberg introduces the reader to the self-compassion work of Dr. Kristin Neff and I’d like to extend that introduction here. Neff is an Associate Professor in Human Development at the University of Texas at Austin. Neff says self-compassion has three main components:
- Self-Kindness – Directing warmth instead of criticism at yourself.
- Common Humanity – Recognizing that suffering is part of the shared human experience.
- Mindfulness – Taking a balanced approach to your negative emotions.
You can learn more about Neff’s work at her excellent website, including being able to rate your own self-compassion. I highly recommend this site as you consider ways to be kind to yourself.
Speaking of which, you know don’t have to stop with just one act of kindness to yourself. It’s very useful to make it a habit! I’m not advocating selfishness. I’m advocating what a past kindness class participant once called self-FULL-ness. When you learn to take care of yourself, you are better able to be there for others.
Enjoy the exercise and when you are finished, read this theme’s reflections.