The Gifts of Self Compassion Breaks
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The Gifts of Self Compassion Breaks

12.10.2022

Written by: Abbie Poush

 

 

As a true fan of the holiday season, I began watching holiday movies right after Thanksgiving, or maybe even before, from the cheesy feel goods to the tear jerkers. Though, this year I watched a new one; Joyeux Noel. Based on a true story, in World War One, Scottish, French and German troops declared a ceasefire for Christmas. The troops from each country came together in common humanity; sharing their food and drinks, playing cards and soccer, and even exchanging contact information to meet up after the war had ended. Even after the Christmas truce has ended, the kindness and compassion remained.

 

Although we are no longer in WWI, we are in war everyday. Yes, we are in war with other countries, even our own country in many respects. We are at war with our families, neighbors, and even ourselves.

 

I recently stumbled on the notion of Self Compassion Breaks developed by Kristen Neff and Christopher Germer. Like a moment of ceasefire from our own wars of expectations, stress, grief, and physical and emotional pain, Neff and Germer pose the idea, just for a moment, to stop and be mindful of our suffering, remembering that to suffer is to be human, and extend kindness to ourselves. We can take Self Compassion Breaks silently or out loud, in a crowded room or in solitude. Neff and Germer break it down for us:

 

 

1. This Is A Moment Of Suffering

 

When you become aware that you are stressed, hurting, or frustrated, see if you can identify the distress in the body. Does your chest feel tight with worry, does your heart ache longing for your loved one, does your head throb from arguing with your relative?

 

Once you identified the pain, say something like: 

This hurts

Ouch

My heart aches for them

This is difficult 

I’m having a hard time with this 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Suffering Is A Part Of Life

 

Often, when I hear this phrase I actually hear, “life is hard, you have to grin and bear it” or “stop feeling sorry for yourself.” But what Neff and Germer mean, is to see ourselves, with the rest of humanity, in the pain that life can bring. We all know someone going through something and even if we are not able to be with them, remember their suffering not only honors theirs but we find solidarity in ours.

 

Say something like:

This is common humanity

I know ______ is having a hard time with the holidays too

Other people also lost loved ones

We all struggle in our lives

I’m not alone

 

3. May I Be Kind To Myself

 

Now, put your hands over your heart, or wherever it feels comforting, and feel the warmth and gentle touch of your hands. Think to yourself, “what do I need to hear right now?”.

 

Say something like: 

May I be kind to myself

May I give myself the compassion that I need

May I accept myself as I am

May I be strong

May I be safe

May I give myself permission to leave 

May I be peaceful

May we all be kind 

May we live in peace

 

 

Christopher Germer concludes, “A moment of selfcompassion can change your entire day. A string of such moments can change the course of your life.” May you give yourself the gift of compassion to yourself and others during this holiday season and every season of the year…for you never know what continued gifts it might bring.

 

 

 

 

Written By: Abbie Poush, MSE, LPCC, CCTP

Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Kyle Zrenchik

Edited By: Dr. Kyle Zrenchik

 

 

Disclaimer: ALL IN Therapy Clinic aims to improve people’s lives. We do this through providing effective mental health counseling by passionate professionals. Inspired by this, we write content for your own education. Also, our content is researched, cited, reviewed, and edited by licensed mental health professionals.  However, the information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  Additionally, it should not be used in place of the advice of a qualified healthcare provider.