Over the past months, friends and clients have shared with me the stress they are feeling about the state of our world. Some are angry, some furious while others are sad and/or anxious. Most have expressed the whole range of feelings.
Many of my sessions with clients have focused on these feelings. So when the following appeared in a holiday letter, I knew that I needed to share it.
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Reading this sent my mind in so many directions.
It reminded me of that saying about how much light there would be if we each became a candle of light.
It reminded me, not only the world waiting in darkness, but of so many of my clients whose lives feel broken and dark.
As I read it, the importance of intention also came to mind.
I thought about my early experiences in therapy which, while helpful at some level, were not nearly as helpful as therapy experiences when I understood what I was trying to do – when I had an intention and when I had specific skills to practice to get me there.
I thought about the changes that I have seen in clients who have been intentional in their practice of self-compassion and acceptance of themselves, even if in the beginning they felt the practice was useless and would never work for them.
In my mind I saw the light in their expressions, where once there was only darkness and at times, despair.
It is amazing what a little love and acceptance can do as we intentionally bring it into our own lives and then, as the author suggests, out into the world.
If you are new to self-compassion, a great place to start is by visiting Dr. Kristen Neff’s website. You will find a great deal of information as well as exercises and guided meditations.
If you have a history of trauma or abuse, or even if you are not used to feeling loved and accepted, self-compassion has the potential to trigger the release of unexpected memories or emotions.
This is often referred to as backdrafting –
a firefighting term used to describe the explosive effect that happens when a door or window is opened to a fire.
If you think this might be true for you, please find a trained professional to help you navigate any feelings or memories that might come up as you learn self-compassion.
It will have the added benefit of learning to let in kindness from another person, in this case a therapist!
I hope that you found the quote inspiring. If you did, please share it so that others, who are feeling worried about our world, might have the chance to read it.
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