Tag Archives: self-compassion

One Small Step Toward Self Compassion

This one small step

when undertaken consciously

can transform your inner landscape from

 the dark and narrow back-streets of anger, criticism, fear and judgment

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into a bright and spacious landscape of compassionate curiosity.

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What’s to loose, right?

So, please hear me through and give it a go before you decide either that ~

  • I’m a fruit loop (which just may be true!) or
  • That this is not for you (which I hope is not true).

Here’s the idea.

Every time you hear your own inner voice of anger, criticism, fear and judgment go off on you with variations of you’re ~

  • no good
  • stupid
  • a failure
  • cowardly
  • wrong
  • lazy
  • forever doomed to be alone
  • unlovable
  • unworthy
  • fundamentally a looser

Do this ~

Visualize the voice as coming from a small, frightened Part of you cowering in that dark alley. Turn toward this cowering Part, thank it, and let it know you’d like to understand it more fully.


Say, “Well hello!  I hear that you’re angry, or worried that I’m no good or stupid or a failure.  I know you are telling me this for a reason and I’d like to hear what you have to tell me.”

Even if this Part says this to you often, my guess is you usually do not give it the time of day.

My guess is you turn away from it.

My guess is that you meet your ~

  • angry Parts with anger
  • critical Parts with criticism
  • judgmental Parts with judgment
  • fearful Parts with fear.

Whatever the initial feeling your Part expresses, instead of listening to it, my guess is you compound it with more of the same.

As Thich Nhat Hanh said:

If we become angry at our anger, we will have two angers at the same time.

So, what to do?

Turn toward this frightened young Part, take it by the hand and lead it out of that narrow, confining, oppressive alley and into a sun-lit meadow. Sit down next to it and invite it to tell you what it needs you to hear. You are there to listen. You are there to listen to understand the concerns, not listen to agree.

The magic?

Once you turn toward your anger, criticism, judgment or fear and invite it to tell you more, you are no longer that Part. You are your Self listening to that Part. YOU have separated from IT.

You have opened up some space between YOU and this PART. Which invites “YOU” into the picture. The “YOU” who is way more than just a small young frightened Part .

This “YOU”, with the spaciousness of the bright meadow, sees so much more of who you are and how you might be actually dealing with whatever the issue was that triggered this young frightened outburst.

Maybe you also see Parts of you are are:

  • kind
  • bright
  • successful
  • brave
  • often right
  • hardworking
  • a good friend
  • lovable
  • worthy
  • fundamentally OK

These Parts are also YOU.

Here is Thich Nhat Hanh again:

We only have to observe it with love and attention. If we take care
of our anger this way, without trying to run away from it, it will transform itself.

OK that’s it!

Is there more one can do to cultivate Self-Compassion?

Yes – and if you’re interested, I highly recommend you allow  Dr. Kristin Neff  to be your guide.

But this one small step is key.

This one small step allows you to see the limits of the dark alley-way script which – when confined to the alley – felt like it was the only narrative. This one small step allows you to access so much more of who you are. This one small step allows you to bring compassion, gratitude and perspective to this Part.

And, if you’re interested in hearing more about working with these Parts of you – one place to begin is an earlier blog post, Part of Me Wants


I’m exploring what it looks like to get your needs met in healthy ways.


This is the latest article in a year-long series on the “12-most-important-relationship-skills-no-one-ever-taught-me-in-school-but-I-sure-wish-they-had.”

Click the box for the full list.  Top 12 Relationship Skills

If you’re interested in reading this blog in sequence, below are links to the series to date, beginning with the first posting at the top.



SKILL ONE ~ Recognize (and get to know) the many “yous.”

SKILL TWO ~ Learn how to be pro-active: choose how y’all show up.

SKILL THREE ~ Accept (and get curious about) other peoples’ complexity


SKILL FOUR ~ Master the Art of Conversation

SKILL FIVE ~ Learn How To Listen With Your Whole Self

SKILL SIX ~ Crack The Empathy Nut

SKILL SEVEN ~ Practice Kindness


POST ~ My Gifts

Practice One Small Thing (POST)

Loving Myself #1 ~ My Gifts

Too many words .

My “only 500 word blog posts, I promise” have crept up.

My excuse? Some of these topics have demanded some serious space.

  • Narcissism
  • Suicide
  • Communication
  • Talking to kids

These have deserved some depth. So, what to do to provide readers with ~

  • shorter posts
  • practical content
  • actionable tips
  • in areas of potential interest, i.e., relationship focused

. . . whilst I’m on the road?

Ah – I have to mention the “on the road” bit.  My husband Mark, our daughter Mona and I will be leaving New Zealand on April 19th to spend a month back in the United States to celebrate our son’s graduation from the University of Willamette . Hooray for him!  So, I’ll be posting less regularly.

I’ll also be swept up into a deliciously hectic series of events and even though I’m expecting to be very happy, I know myself well enough to remember it will help me to have some sort of grounding practice: writing, planning, thinking, – a focus for my thoughts.  A possible win-win is this idea.  A series short, tight POSTSPracticing One Small Thing – to forward my overall theme of “Cultivating great relationships with family, friends and self” which I’ll create for my own focus, and then share with you here.

I’ll post 3 times a week, with one idea each time so that, if it seems to serve, you might try one of them as well to deepen your relationship with ~

  • Yourself  –  see the topic Loving Myself
  • Your family — see the topic Loving My Family
  • Your friends  –  see the topic Loving My Friends

OK – for the first sample lets start with loving ourselves:

Today’s POST ~ Enjoying My Gifts

We are each gifted in a unique and important way. It is our privilege and our adventure to discover our own special light.

Mary Dunbar

Right now, just to yourself, name 3 things you know you are good at that you also love to do. If you’re a good hydrogeologist but it’s not what really floats your boat, then don’t claim that. If you’re a good singer/songwriter (even if you’re not Roger McGuinn) and you love it – then go ahead and claim singer/songwriter as a Gift. (Yes Mark – I’m looking at you!)

Go on – risk it.

For me – really quickly, no thinking, no editing?

  1. Generating ideas
  2. Connecting with people
  3. Writing

And for you?

  1. Baking?
  2. Fixing things?
  3. Creating order?
  4. Listening?
  5. Creating Community?
  6. Making connections?
  7. Design?
  8. Playing guitar?
  9. Drawing?
  10. Juggling?

OK – got your 3 things?


Today – commit to being consciously engaged in one of your gifts. Maybe you use your Gift all the time like my friend Richard who’s gifted with a design-eye and works as an architect. OK, so today, swim around a bit in the ease and joy design can bring.  Maybe it’s been hard for you to get time for expressing your gifts today – let yourself  have a few minutes for YOU.

As you do so, notice how good you feel.

Just play in the garden of your own delight.

It is enough!

(It’s no coincidence I write a blog now is it – I LOVE writing!)