While the statement is true, I don’t feel “safer at home.” I, like you, have many moments of fear, worry, uncertainty, insecurity, anger, ruminating, stress, boredom, annoyance (for some reason this apocalypse has not made anyone in my family better at doing laundry)…oh, did I mention the fear? I know I’m not alone; this is what it’s like to be a human being right now. On a global Zoom call of Mindful Self Compassion (MSC) teachers, Dr. Hailan Guo shared how she has been working with up to 500,000 students at a time online in China. The number one request by far? Working with fear and other difficult emotions. Close behind: working with difficult relationships (including both the pain of disconnection as well as the empathic pain of connection). All of us are experiencing all of it right now; this is how it is for us!
Luckily, we have help we can all access right here at home, exactly when we need it, because this is really hard: self compassion. Its three powerful components work together as an offer of love to ourselves: (1) mindfulness (we stop and acknowledge that we’re having a hard time – without over-identifying or ruminating); (2) our common humanity (we deeply recognize that there’s nothing wrong with us for having a hard time; our whole species is struggling right now!); (3) self-kindness (responding to ourselves with the same level of care and love that we would offer to a friend).
While there are many tools and skills offered in an MSC program, the most basic is the “Mindful Self Compassion Break.” Why don’t you try it now? Check in with yourself: (1) Notice: “My body, mind, and heart are holding a lot right now: This is stressful; this is difficult; this is really hard!” (2) Remember: “I’m not alone – this is what it’s like to be a human being right now; we’re all – each and every one of us – having a hard time and there’s nothing wrong with me for feeling this way.” (3) Respond: “Can I listen to what I need and offer it to myself with kindness – just as I would for a friend?” Get curious, creative, and sweet with yourself (can you try being your own best company?).
For me, I Ground by feeling into my feet and noticing they are supported by the floor and the planet; taking a few longer, slower breaths, sensing my supported body all the way down to my supported feet. I Soothe by offering myself a warm and supportive hand over the heart (or giving myself a hug) and a few kind words of encouragement (“you’re doing the best you can right now”), and by inviting my body, mind, and heart to intentionally relax, warm, and soften around any points of tension (either emotional or physical) that are there. And I Move – I mindfully and compassionately step away from the news, take a walk, do some jumping jacks, make myself a cup of coffee. The ultimate home remedy of self compassion is always available. Kindness can touch so much of what ails us right now when we can just stop and listen to what we need.
Sending you all so much love and ease,