by Denette Mann
Mindful self-compassion helped me to stop beating myself up and live a happier, more peaceful life. Here’s my story.
Happiness did not come easily to me.
I was not a happy person. I had a good life, a successful career, and a loving family. My health was good and my worries were few. Why wasn’t I happy? As a mental health counselor and friend to many, I knew I wasn’t alone. I couldn’t remember ever feeling that happy, light feeling I saw in movies. Certainly, I had moments of joy, contentment, excitement, and achievement; I wasn’t plagued by anxiety or sadness all the time. I felt I could have a better life experience, but didn’t know how to get there. In 2012, I decided to use my business finances for the continuing education credits required to keep my license. These trainings helped to uncover the source of my dysthymia, the clinical term for when you don’t get normal enjoyment from everyday events and enabled me to better serve my clients seeking therapy. That decision changed my life.
My Path Towards a Mindful Self-Compassion Practice
The continuing education program I chose was a 5-day intensive MBSR (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction) training with Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn. It was difficult – I’m not an early morning person and meditations started at 6:00 am – but also calming and peaceful. I felt the effects of the training for a full week. I felt tranquil and serene, and dare I say, really happy. Nothing ruffled me. Amazing. Two years later I attended another 6-day intensive training in Mindful Self-Compassion led by Dr. Kristen Neff and Dr. Christopher Germer. What an experience! The information, research data, experiences, people, and environment were extraordinary. This time I felt the benefits for two weeks. Soon after, however, my brain filled again with worries.
And so, I continued my self-compassion journey. I knew this path was right for me. I attended the teacher’s training and a 3-day silent retreat, then retook the 6-day intensive training to go deeper. Finally, I obtained my certification to teach the program.
Why I Teach Mindful Self-Compassion
I teach mindful self-compassion because I previously lived my life with a truly aggressive, mean inner critic. This inner critic constantly worked me over for every perceived mistake, poor choice, failure, embarrassment, etc. That voice now is so tiny I barely hear it. I don’t meditate every day, though that’s my goal, nor do I always remember to use my skills when I need them. Nevertheless, I live differently. I don’t have to be perfect with my mindful self-compassion practice any more than I need to be perfect at anything else in life; I just know that now, in a way I didn’t before. I’m kinder to others because I’m kinder to myself. I’m a better wife, mother, therapist, sister, and daughter. I want everyone to feel the inner contentment I now feel.
I educate others to share this wonderful life-changing mindset with learned tools and skills AND to continue my own journey. I’m a passionate devotee because of the happiness I found through my mindful self-compassion practice. That’s why I teach.
About the Author: Denette Mann
Denette Mann is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Supervisor, Registered Play Therapist and Supervisor, National Certified Counselor, and Certified EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) Therapist. She is often accompanied by her team of therapy dogs, a miniature poodle, ‘Bailey’, and a Maltipoo, ‘Shaq’. Learn more at DenetteMann.com
FAQs About Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC)
What is Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC)?
Mindful Self-Compassion is a program originally developed by Dr. Kristin Neff and Dr. Christopher Germer that combines mindfulness and self-compassion practices to help individuals cultivate a kinder and more supportive relationship with themselves.
Why is Self-Compassion Important?
Self-compassion involves treating oneself with the same kindness and understanding that one would offer to a friend in times of difficulty. It can reduce self-criticism, improve emotional well-being, and enhance resilience.
Who Can Benefit from MSC?
MSC is beneficial for anyone seeking to improve their emotional well-being and develop greater self-compassion. It’s particularly helpful for individuals dealing with stress, anxiety, depression, self-esteem issues, and challenging life circumstances.
What Does MSC Training Involve?
MSC training usually involves workshops, courses, or retreats led by trained instructors. It includes guided meditations, discussions, experiential exercises, and practices that teach participants how to apply self-compassion in daily life.
How Does Mindfulness Fit into MSC?
Mindfulness is a fundamental component of MSC. It involves paying non-judgmental attention to the present moment, which helps individuals develop awareness and reduce the reactivity of negative thoughts and emotions.
Is MSC a Form of Therapy?
While MSC incorporates therapeutic techniques, it is not a replacement for therapy. It can complement therapy and is often used as a preventive measure to enhance emotional well-being.
Can You Practice MSC on Your Own?
While attending an MSC program with a trained instructor is recommended, you can also incorporate self-compassion practices into your daily life on your own. Books, online resources, and guided meditations can provide guidance.
What Are Self-Compassion Breaks?
Self-Compassion Breaks are short practices where you acknowledge your own suffering, offer yourself kindness and understanding, and remind yourself of your shared humanity. They are used to respond to moments of difficulty or self-criticism.
Does MSC Conflict with Personal Growth?
No, self-compassion doesn’t hinder personal growth. In fact, it can enhance it by providing a supportive and nurturing foundation for facing challenges and setbacks.
Can MSC Help with Emotional Resilience?
Yes, developing self-compassion through MSC practices can improve emotional resilience by helping you navigate challenges and setbacks with greater self-kindness and understanding.
Practicing Mindful Self-Compassion is a journey that takes time and patience. It’s about developing a compassionate relationship with yourself and learning to be gentle and understanding in moments of difficulty. If you’re interested, consider attending an MSC program or integrating self-compassion practices into your daily routine.
image source: visionpic.net (pexels.com)
originally posted 5.13.2020