It's lovely to be back in touch. I was just remembering a meeting I was invited to recently. No one knew each other and we were asked to say something about ourselves to the group of about 30 as way of introduction. I always get nervous and often fluster over what to say on the spot. What interested me was that the facilitator asked us to share something that we weren’t good at. And as we began to go around the circle, I was amazed at how much easier this seemed to feel for everyone. Smiles of recognition and care between us all transformed the experience. When we have chance to share our vulnerabilities with each other in a safe space, we realise how connected we are. We instantly feel more loving towards one another and suddenly we’re more alike, no longer individuals trying to impress or defend our egoic selves – which only makes us feel isolated and tired as we try to look like we’ve got our shit together all the time.
Every week in my online Tuesday class, we remind each other that it’s our vulnerabilities that unite us rather than divide us. That learning how to be more kindly with ourselves creates a reliable source of inner strength that confers courage and enhances resilience when faced with our difficulties and vulnerable selves. Many people have reservations about self-compassion and mistake it for self-indulgence and a ‘woe is me’ kind of attitude. Scientific research on self-compassion from world leading authorities Kristen Neff and Chris Germer, shows it to be the complete opposite and the benefits are compelling. Mindful Self-compassion has changed the way I relate to myself when under stress, feeling anxious or ‘not good enough’ and communicating what that looks like, is helping others.
Take a moment to recall a situation in which you had the courage to be vulnerable... it can be truly uncomfortable, but ultimately it can also be the gift of a deeper sense of connection and a 'knowing' that this really matters... Take a reassuring breath that can just soothe your heart and remember that doing this kind of thing, doesn't always come naturally and it's okay if its hard.
I believe a kinder interaction with ourselves is the breath of fresh air our culture is crying out for. Everyone I share it with says it makes so much sense when they try it but no one I know outside my practice seems to do it.
When we give ourselves permission to feel vulnerable we open our hearts to the moment, even though it hurts, we can offer a kindly voice to ourselves, simply because it hurts.
Its important to remember that we are part of humanity and as such, EVERYONE experiences vulnerability and when we have chance to be honest about this (if the space is safe), we find our hearts met in others. We realise how alone we had felt in our struggle, how the struggle made us feel somehow 'different' and that life wasn't meant to be like this.
But a mindful approach helps us find each other, as we open to our own feelings of struggle we realise we are far from alone.
Just this week, a new member commented on how giving herself an hour in the week to come into a space where she could see other people in the online class, reminded her that there ARE others who care about their inner lives and how helpful, reassuring and encouraging that is. So just in case you fancy giving yourself the chance to start a practice or begin again, Don’t forget my invitation from last week! Join my free 9am weekday meditations, contact me for the link if you've not saved it. Or get in touch for a free call by pushing the 'FREE CALL' button on the 'HOMEPAGE'. See you soon.