Some people often say,’ I don’t deserve compassion,’ ot’I’m too angry inside to be bothered with compassion,’ ot ‘It’s difficult ,’ or’It’s weakness.’ ‘First ‘I hope I’ve shown you that it’s not a weakness . It’s really about how we stimulate our brains and create certain types of relationships , not just with other people but also within our own heads- with ourselves. And if you think about our basic description of our compassion then what is weak about that? If you think you don’t desrerve compassion it is like saying you don’t desreve to be fit or have a healthy diet.
In fact, if you are depressed , you are the person who deserves most compassion. Think about just how much easier it would be for you if you did get on with other people ; if you felt better, how much energy you might have to be able to help other people in this tricky life.
It is also important to remember to practise and there are various ways to do this. One is to remember your commitment to become compassionate each day-saying your mantra before you get up , and running through a sort breathing exercise and compassion focus , I call ‘two minutes under the duvet’.
Write on the back of your hand ‘ pay attention to kindness’ ; hold a stone or something else small in your pocket so that every time you put your hand in there you can feel that and remind yourself of your intention to become the kind of person you want to be in this world while you are here.
Place a ‘compassion candle’ at the end of your bath so that while you are in it you can practise your compassionate imagery work. Find a smell you really like and then when you do your soothing rhythm breathing, put this onto a handherchief and smell it . Then during the day , stop for a moment , take out the handkerchief , slow breath, have a smell and recreate the friendly facial expression and voice tone.
If you can put aside a regulare time to practise mindfulness and compassion focusing , that is the ideal , but if you can only take snatches of time during the day that will be helpful too. One of the key things is not to make it into a chore or a duty or something you’re supposed to do.
Depressed people do not do very well under those conditions. If you do that , you may find you have less motivation to keep going. So try to make practice fun-for example , put a smiling face on the back of your toilet door so that every time you close the door it reminds you of the kind of self you are trying to train yourself to become .
(If you find that just annoys you then obviously don’t do it, but also reflect on why it would annoy you.) Try to be innovative in the ways you wake yourself up to the present moment and commit yourself to the compassionate path. Always notice the breath. The more playful you can be with ways to stay in the present moment, the easier it will get . And remeber :it’s very important to notice the emotional tone of the thoughts that run through your head. Notice if the tones are aggressive , hostile or critical , and make a real and deliberate effort to create a voice tone in your mind that is kind, supportive and understanding. Even when you make mistakes or deo silly things try to remember that on the whole we don’t cause ourselves suffering on purpose.
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