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The Gift They Want This Valentine's Day

“You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” Buddha

"Individuals who are more self-compassionate tend to have greater happiness, life satisfaction and motivation, better relationships and physical health, and less anxiety and depression. They also have the resilience needed to cope with stressful life events such as divorce, health crises, and academic failure, and even combat trauma."

My own quest to self compassion begins when I have a (unfortunately all too frequent) self-deprecating thought like “you’re not enough” followed by what feels like a gut punch. To offer my self compassion I try to get into an “observer role” and pretty much talk to myself saying things like “yeah that sucks that you feel that way but I’m with you.” On a good day I might even realize that it is normal to feel so bad, and that I’m probably not the only one who's ever felt this way. The result? A slight softening in my gut, a deep breath, and I feel a little better. I know the Valentines in my life appreciate this effort because when I am a little nicer to myself, I'm a lot nicer to them!

Try one of these writing prompts to get into the "observer role" to more easily find self compassion whenever you are feeling inadequate or want to make a change.

  1. Think of an imaginary friend who is unconditionally wise, loving, and compassionate and write a letter to yourself from the perspective of your friend.

  2. Write a letter as if you were talking to a dearly beloved friend who was struggling with the same concerns as you.

  3. Write a letter from the compassionate part of yourself to the part of yourself that is struggling.

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