tools for depression

Self-Compassion for Healthier Relationships

It’s probably obvious that cultivating self-compassion will help you come into a healthier relationship with yourself. When you practice interrupting old patterns of self-criticism and relating to your experience with greater curiosity and less judgment, your internal climate becomes significantly friendlier.

Self-Compassion and Self-Forgiveness

I was at Austin Zen Center recently, attending a ceremony for my teacher, who was installed as the Center’s first abbot. As part of the ceremony, my teacher made five statements to summarize his teaching. The one that stuck with me most was this: whatever you find in yourself, acknowledge it, accept it, and forgive. This statement aligns very closely with the three aspects of self-compassion: awareness, a sense of common humanity, and kindness. It also sounds like a recipe for making amends with oneself, and I wanted to share it with you.

I am not my ________ .

I recently read a Huffington Post article about photographer Steve Rosenfield’sWhat I Be Project. Since 2010, Rosenfield has invited subjects to write words on their face and/or body that relate to their deepest insecurities. He then photographs them, looking directly at the camera, and titles their portraits with their insecurity included in the phrase, “I am not my __________________________ .” Rosenfield describes his Project as “a social experiment turned into, what is now, a global movement about honesty and empowerment.” And, I would add, self-compassion.

What if Sisyphus Had Befriended that Boulder?

Do you know the Greek myth of Sisyphus? Short version: Mortal angers the gods and is condemned to eternally push a boulder up hill every day, only to have the boulder roll down hill every night. Sound familiar?

Anne Frank's Chestnut Tree: Self-Compassion and Resilience

If you are having a hard day and feeling challenged, stressed, burnt out, or self-critical, maybe there is a tree, a flower, a lake, or a patch of sky that you can connect with to remind yourself of your interconnectedness with a wider world.

Building Community through Self-Compassion

I wrote an article about self-compassion for the Summer 2010 issue of Turning Wheel, the journal of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship. In it I shared some of my experiences with the power of self-compassion, as well as three practices to help cultivate self-compassion in our everyday lives.