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PodcastHow to Have Self-Compassion

How to Have Self-Compassion

Meditation expert Sam Snowden explains how treating ourselves in a more loving way creates a sense of comfort that comes from within.

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Better mental health starts with Headspace

(soft music) Headspace Studios. (birds chirping) (soft music) Hi, welcome to Radio Headspace, and to Friday. It's Sam here. There's a Swedish saying I like that goes a loved child has many names. Think about how naturally nicknames develop. They can be silly and playful, and they often let us know that we're loved. There's so much warmth and love that's behind the nicknames that we call our pets, our children, and our loved ones. But what about the way we talk to ourselves? We don't typically give ourselves nicknames, but do we speak to ourselves with the same kindness and compassion that we give to others? For many of us, our inner voice can be quite critical. And the way we respond with self-compassion develops over time. When we begin to talk to ourselves in a more loving way, we may feel like we're just trying out phrases, even though we don't feel the words authentically. We may also realize that we can know ourselves more intimately than anyone else can, and be able to provide ourselves with the soothing presence that we know we need. When a difficult emotion arises for me, I imagine that the emotion is sending me an SOS signal. It's asking me for acknowledgement, and I respond by putting a hand on my heart, and saying to myself, I see you, and I'm here. I see how difficult this is for you right now, and I can stay present and check in with you for as long as you need me to. Talking to myself in this way reflects the reassurance that I need. It helps me know that I don't have to rush to feel better. And it helps me to accept my emotions just as they are. This reminds me of a helpful practice that I learned from a book called "The Journey from Abandonment to Healing" by Susan Anderson. there was an exercise where you write a dialogue between your big self and your little self. And big self encompasses your wisdom, your love, and your patience. All of these helpful qualities that you developed as an adult. The little self is the childlike part of you that feels scared or lonely, insecure, or unsafe. Allowing that little self space to vent to speak without judgment and without being rushed to grow up nurtures insight and compassion. The beautiful thing about this kind of relationship building with ourselves is that it transfers over to other relationships. We begin to greet others' pain and distress with a similar compassionate tone that acknowledges their discomfort without trying to problem solve for them right away. We can let go of trying to offer advice or solutions, and simply say, I see how hard this is for you. A psychologist I follow on Instagram, Dr. Becky Kennedy, offers some helpful responses that parents can use in high intensity moments with their child. One of her recent phrases was, this is not how you wanted this to...


Duration4 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.

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  • 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.

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