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Take Heart-Happy Valentine's Day

Take Heart, allow yourself some self-compassion this Valentine's Day and everyday. This means you--Parents, Caregivers, Social Workers, Teachers, and all of us who care for and about others.

Dr. Kristen Neff (2011) defines self compassion as "simply accepting ourselves with an open heart." In the work of caring, do we truly do this and allow others to do so as well? Self Compassion is defined by Neff as "feeling moved by others’ suffering so that your heart responds to their pain, the word compassion literally means to “suffer with”." As caregivers, we are often skilled at feeling moved by others' suffering; we often fail to care for our own pain. Neff identifies 3 components of self compassion:

  1. Self Kindness vs Self Judgement: Give your self permission to be not ok, adequate can be good enough. Praise your efforts, one step at a time.

  2. Common Humanity vs. Isolation: Join with others, engage in social activity, build your tribe, share the load.

  3. Mindfulness vs. Over Identification: Be present in the moment, it too shall pass. Don't dwell and perseverate on your difficulties and challenges. Look for blessings amidst the storms.

In order to effectively practice self compassion, we must actively reflect (and help others!) on our connections with others and our shared experiences. It also requires acknowledging pain and suffering as part of life along with joy and goodness.

You can learn more about self compassion by going to her website or by watching this informative video by Dr. Neff.

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