The end of the year is near and if you’re like most people you’ll catch the mind wandering back onto the year looking to measure up how it turned out. This automatic process can be a bit tricky as the mind has an automatic negativity bias and tends to look for the things that didn’t work out and can kick us into a downward spiral of dissatisfaction with life.
But we need to look back on our lives so we can learn from the past, be more intentional in the present and be well in the future. What we need in the process is a little self-compassion.
So what do we do?
- Take back the reins from the wandering mind – Set some time aside to intentionally look back on this year. Ask yourself, “Where were the difficult moments and where were the happy moments?” Consider what you did that was effective in your personal life or at work and what you did that was ineffective.
- Have compassion – Often times the past doesn’t work out as we wanted it to. Lily Tomlin said, “Forgiveness means giving up all hope for a better past.” However, sometimes that little critic comes out in us and is relentless leaving us feeling disappointed or depressed about the past and anxious and fearful about the future.
Here’s a practice called, The Self Compassion Break I learned from Chris Germer, PhD, author of The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion, where we can create compassion for ourselves through this process:
- Take a few deep breaths
- Put both hands over your heart feeling the pressure and warmth
- As you breathe repeating tor yourself:
- “This is suffering”
- “Suffering is a part of life, all people suffer”
- “May I be kind to myself”
- “May I forgive myself”
This is simply acknowledging something universal and redressing the automatic negativity bias by wishing ourselves well, moving toward forgiveness.
May this be a time of healing for you with a sense of openness and hope for the year ahead.
Please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction creates a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.
Photo by Robert Couse-Baker, available under a Creative Commons attribution, non-commercial license.