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PodcastBe Gentle with Yourself

Be Gentle with Yourself

There’s a fine line between self-care and indulgent complacency. At the same time, there’s a fine line between self-encouragement and being harsh with ourselves. Today, check in with the self-compassion spectrum and be aware of where you fall.

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(shaker shaking) (mouse clicking) (bright music) Headspace Studios. (upbeat music) Greetings, my name is Kessonga, and I welcome you this Thursday morning to Radio Headspace. So I may have mentioned that I teach a course on the university level called MBSR, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction. The course is designed to teach individuals about mindfulness, its benefits, and help them incorporate a consistent mindfulness meditation practice into their everyday lives. So I once had a participant that had an excellent observation and concern, they stated that embracing the mindfulness practice can be extremely daunting. Their schedule was already extremely busy, so fitting this new practice into their already busy schedule was difficult and stressful, not to mention they just weren't used to meditating. So right away, I heard a few things with this observation, self-judgment jumped out at me immediately. They were being so harsh on themselves, and this is often how we operate, we don't treat ourselves in a space of self-compassion. I got to thinking about what I call the self-compassion spectrum. On one end of the spectrum is that area of harsh, self-deprecating talk, the, "I'm not good enough," or, "I'm never going to get this. I'm not smart enough. I'm not calm enough," et cetera, et cetera. On the other end of the spectrum is indulgent complacency. So how does this indulgent complacency look? It's like waking up in the morning, knowing you want to and need to work out or meditate, but saying to yourself, "I'm tired, and Kessonga said to be gentle with myself," and rolling back over to sleep, and repeating this pattern day, after day, after day. So asking yourself, where on the spectrum do you fall? The idea here is to land somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, and nobody is perfect, so more than anything, the idea is to be aware of where you're at on the spectrum moment by moment. For this, I like to use the example of a baby that's learning to walk. When a baby is learning to walk, it's inevitable that it's going to do what? (baby gurgling) Fall over. Yeah, it's going to fall at some point. Now, how do you respond to your baby falling? I remember when my brother had his first daughter, my beautiful niece, and she was learning to walk. Whenever she would fall down, he would say, "Uh-oh, you can do it, Nala. Come on, big girl." He didn't say angrily, "You better get up, let's go, walk." (laughing) He was gentle, he was compassionate, and also, at the same time, still encouraging. This is the space of self-compassion that I'm talking about. What also comes to mind is the gentle encouragement we tend to show our close friends when they are in a crisis, why can't we be that gentle with ourselves? So I encourage you to be aware of where on that self-compassion spectrum you find yourself in each moment, which brings me back to my student's concern and...


Duration5 min

About your teachers

  • A former Buddhist monk, Andy has guided people in meditation and mindfulness for 20 years. In his mission to make these practices accessible to all, he co-created the Headspace app in 2010.

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  • Eve is a mindfulness teacher, overseeing Headspace’s meditation curriculum. She is passionate about sharing meditation to help others feel less stressed and experience more compassion in their lives.

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  • As a meditation teacher, Dora encourages others to live, breathe, and be with the fullness of their experiences. She loves meditation’s power to create community and bring clarity to people’s minds.

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  • Kessonga has been an acupuncturists, therapist, and meditation teacher, working to bring mindfulness to the diverse populations of the world.

    More about Kessonga
  • Rosie Acosta has studied yoga and mindfulness for more than 20 years and taught for over a decade. Rosie’s mission is to help others overcome adversity and experience radical love.

    More about Rosie
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