Tomorrow I officially start my training to become a Mindful Self Compassion Teacher. I've been thinking about this since I started attending the 8 week course myself, back in lockdown last year, because it has just been so helpful as a set of tools and strategies for me. One of the things I've really been thinking about the last few weeks as I prepare to start the training journey is about how self kindness and self compassion really is an every day, every moment practice - it is most effective when we practice it regularly and know we can always return at any given moment, without judgement, to being kind and compassionate to ourselves (no matter how much in the last moment we may have been judging ourselves for something we did, something we thought we should have done etc!)
So as I lean into beginning, I wanted to be really intentional with my approach to learning self compassion. I'm a serial learner but want to think about how I approach my learning and participation in a kind way that feels nourishing. I thought I'd share it here in case it was helpful for anyone else thinking of starting something similar! I spent some time thinking about how Mindful Self Compassion would itself help me structure my thoughts and feelings...
Consideration of all the thoughts and feelings I have about starting the course. How I feel beginning. Where my inner critic may be showing up and where the opportunities are to listen instead and amplify my compassionate self.
Nervousness about where I am on my own journey and how this may compare to others - am I good enough? Do I know enough? Am I ready?
What else is happening for me in the here and now that may impact on me participating fully in the course? How do I even want to show up?
What may be happening over the length of the course (12 weeks) that I may need to take into account? Some of this is known now, some things may show up as time goes on
Relaxing into a remembrance that others on the course may be feeling some nervousness and inner critic voice too. It's easy to think or believe it is "just me" feels like this but often it isn't the case!
Above all, how can I prioritise being kind to myself over the length of my course? It's late in the evening here in the UK which I do feel a little nervous about- I know I'm going to need to practice excellent self care and self kindness so I can best support my own learning experience?
What time and space may I need for the course, how will the course impact on different areas of my life and what actions may I need to choose for my own self kindness and wellbeing?
Inner critic and self compassionate self
Oh, my inner critic is a noisy one! It's OK though as I'm slowly learning to turn instead to see what my wisest, most compassionate self has to say about things! This is definitely something I need to practice as much as possible.
Inner critic says "You'll probably really struggle because it is late at night - you know you get migraines and you're bound to get them!"
Wise compassionate self asks " What do I need to put in place to show up as my best self and have the best experience? What support do I need to do that?" She also reminds me that I have so many tools I can choose to help me make decisions that feel good and will support my wellbeing.
Wise compassionate self asks "What else may be true? What can you do to remind yourself that you're in the perfect place right now?" She reminds me that I have been acccepted and how good I feel when I am able to share things I've found useful from MSC. That no matter where people are in their journey, they may be feeling a little of this. that there is a big opportunity to learn from all the different and varied experiences of others and that I also have value to share.
Self kind me, compassionate self asks myself if there are any kind words I can use to get started, to remind myself of that compassionate voice through the experience and to lighten into self kindness.
This is what I came up with:
"I am calm, prepared, organised and ready and excited to learn. I am perfectly in the right place for this journey"
With this as my focus I can go back to my question about what I may need:
Health: Prioritise the course, minimise other screen time, nap when I need to, fresh air, hydration, vitamins and good healthy food
Home and family: Family know I am doing the course, remind them what and when to avoid noise conflicts. Be kind to myself if they happen! Continue to ask myself what I need as I experience being in the course.
Friends: Make sure social is off during course, ensure that family and friends know I'm doing my course and not around in the evening.
Biz: Focus on focused, well prepared time that feels aligned to what is most important to me. Check in with whether I need to do things right now (as I have a tendency to do!)
Personal development: Give myself time the next day to reflect on my learning and schedule in any follow up course actions
and finally, help myself by being prepared on the day of and the day after the course. What do I need to be healthy, prepared, engaged?
Doing all this has in itself been a huge act of self kindness. It hasn't taken long, maybe an hour to journal through and write down (and some more time to share here) but it has given me some further insight on what I may need and how I can most kindly show up for myself over the next few weeks.
Looking forwards to sharing more of my journey as I go along :)