“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” – Buddha
The other day while watching YouTube videos one thing led to another, as it always does when it comes to spending time on the web, and I ended up watching a short animation on compassion.
It explained Sharon Salzberg’s idea that compassion comes from paying full attention to our surroundings and the people around us. Salzberg, who is a meditation teacher and author, affirms that compassion is natural in all of us and is the result of becoming aware of others.
We’re all human and we all have countless quirks, moods and personal stories. If we can manage to internalize that and use it in our everyday interactions, then we’ll be well on our way to a kinder way of experiencing life.
In a nutshell, that was the takeaway from the video. But it got me thinking how we can try to apply this idea and cultivate compassion for our own selves. After all, compassion for oneself and for others go hand in hand. If we strive to develop one, we’ll be also enriching the other.
I have developed 5 journaling prompts to cultivate self compassion:
- Acknowledge all feelings.
Even the bad ones. Compassion is all about paying attention and not, as it may seem to some, about absolute pureness and charity. So write down your “bad feelings” like jealousy, frustration and fear. Accept them as part of being human. Once you see them written down you’ll realize they weren’t as scary as they seemed in your head. They’re just feelings, and like all feelings, they’re temporary.
- Find connection.
What connects you to everyone else? Write down all the ways that make you feel connected to humanity. We all have much more in common than we think. This prompt is a little reminder that you’re not alone.
- Observe your qualities.
Think of someone you truly admire and write down everything you have in common with that person. We often downplay our own qualities while we celebrate them in others. It’s time to recognize our strengths.
- Letter to you body.
Take time to do some mindful breathing and be aware of your body. Once you feel the ease, write a letter to your body recognizing and thanking it for all it does,,,which is a lot!
- Treat yourself like you’d treat a friend.
Write down all the ways you are compassionate and understanding towards your friends. Usually when it comes to others, acting this way feels natural. Next, write how many of those compassionate acts you could apply to your self.
I hope these journaling prompts get you going and that you come up with more of your own. Journal away!