Being Kind to Yourself: A Meditation

When the negative self-talk starts, this mindfulness meditation reminds you that you deserve kindness too.

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  1. Be Kind to Yourself: A Meditation HelpGuide 10:22


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We're often so much harder on ourselves than we are on anyone else. We judge ourselves harshly, dwell on our failures and perceived shortcomings, compare ourselves unfavorably to others, and sometimes even tell ourselves that we aren't worthy of love or happiness. This meditation teaches you to counter those negative voices in your head with self-compassion and to remind yourself that you deserve kindness.

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Hello, I’m Chris Saranchock. Welcome to a HelpGuide meditation on Being Kind to yourself. Something that’s especially important during these challenging times.

Let’s start by finding a comfortable position. Being mindful of what your body is saying to you in this moment and what feels right for you.

Maybe sitting… tall like a mountain…. back straight…. arms resting to your sides, and your feet firmly planted on the ground.

Or maybe you prefer to lying down. Stretched out on a comfortable surface… Arms resting to your sides… palms up and open…

Whatever feels right in this moment.

Then, when you’re ready, close your eyes.

(brief pause)

Now turn your attention to the breath. Simply noticing that you’re breathing… Not trying to change anything…

Feeling the coolness of the breath as you inhale… and the warmth of the breath as you exhale…

(time for breathing)

As you breathe, give yourself permission to leave your worries and responsibilities behind.

Imagine yourself stepping out of doing… away from what’s going on in the world… away from work or family… away from all the things that are on your plate.

With your breath, you’re carving out a space that’s just for you.

A peaceful space… A kind space… A space where you can safely let go…

(time for breathing)

Continue to focus on your breath… In… and out…

(time for breathing)

On each exhale, allow yourself to release some of the tension you’ve been carrying.

Soften your face… relax your jaw… let your shoulders drop…

As you release the tension, imagine your chest loosening and expanding… Opening up a pathway for your breath… allowing it to flow freely…

In… and out… Moment… by moment…

(time for breathing)

As you’re breathing in this space you’ve created for yourself, you may find that certain thoughts or emotions arise.

Maybe worries about the world… things that are weighing on you… regrets… self-criticism… doubts…

When that happens, rather than trying to push that thought or feeling away, simply observe it without judgment…

Not getting caught up in it, but acknowledging what’s there… and then releasing it…

Letting it float away as you gently bring your attention back to your breath.

(long break for breathing)

As you’re breathing in and out, see if you can kindle a feeling of warmth and kindness towards yourself.

Maybe placing your hand over your heart…

Taking a moment to appreciate yourself. Just as you are in this moment.

(long break)

Many of us find it easy to love ourselves when things are going well.

But when we make mistakes… when we’re feeling overwhelmed… when we’re not where we think we should be… we often fall back into patterns of negative self-talk.

We beat ourselves up for our perceived failures and shortcomings… We judge ourselves harshly…

In those moments, it can be helpful to stop and ask, “What would I tell a loved one if they were criticizing themselves like this?”

So often, we’re much harder on ourselves than we would be on anybody else.

We have to remind ourselves that we deserve kindness too.

When those negative voices start up, we can counter them with self-compassion. Treating ourselves gently and kindly, just like we would treat a good friend.

(pause for breathing)

Just continue to breathe, allowing the warmth of compassion and acceptance and loving awareness to fill you up and infuse your whole body.

Breath by breath… Moment by moment…

(pause for breathing)

As self-compassion researcher and teacher Dr. Kristin Neff says, “When we give ourselves compassion, we are opening our hearts in a way that can transform our lives.”

Now, when you’re ready, open your eyes. And see if you can bring that lovingkindness for yourself with you, as you go on with your day.