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Mindful : December 2014
One of the reasons we engage in this pattern of responding is that we are prog rammed to avoid pain. Pain signals that something is wrong, triggering our fight or flight response. Because of our innate tendency to move away from pain, it ca n be difficult to turn toward it, to hold it, to be with it as it is. Mindfulness counters the tendency to avoid pain- ful thoughts and emotions, allowing us to hold the truth of our experience even when it’s unpleasant. At the same time, being mindful means we don’t “overidentify” with negative thoughts or feelings and get caught up and swept away by our aversive reactions. This type of rumination exaggerates our assessments of our self-worth. Not only did I fail, “I AM A FAILURE.” Not only was I disappointed, “MY LIFE IS DISAPPOINTING.” When we observe our pain mindfully, however, we acknowledge our suffering without exaggerat- ing it, allowing ourselves to adopt a more balanced perspective towa rd ourselves. We can then open our hearts and let our self-compassion flow freely. Practice Three doorways in The beauty of self-compassion is that it has three distinct doorways in. Whenever you notice you a re suffering, you have three potential courses of action. 1 You can give yourself kindness and understanding. 2 You can remind yourself that suffering is par t of the shared human experience. 3 Or you can be mindful of your thoughts and emotions so that you find greater peace and balance. Enhancing any one of the three components of self- compassion will make it easier to engage the other components. Sometimes you’ll find it easier to enter one doorway than a nother depending on your mood and the current situation, but once you’re in, you’re in. You’ll be in a state of loving, connected presence (another way of describing the three components of self-compassion) no matter what the circumstances of your life are in the moment. You will have dis- covered the power of self-compassion, and it could change your life for good. → in practice insight December 2014 mindful 79 Become the leader the world needs now. sixteen weeks online and two five-day workshops