Self Compassion Challenge For Beginners With ACT

Researcher Dr. Thupten Jinpa describes compassion as having three elements: perceiving another’s suffering or need, emotionally connecting with that suffering or need, and wishing to see that suffering relieved. Strengthening compassion is associated with decreased emotional suppression and greater resilience and self-acceptance. 

Reflection Questions 

What does compassion mean to you?  

Is it something that you extend to yourself? How do you do so? How often do you do so?  

Is there anything that’s holding you back from being compassionate towards yourself?  

Do you treat yourself with the same compassion with which you treat others? 

The Buddhist loving-kindness, or metta, meditation is focused on expanding circles of compassion. In the Book of Joy, His Holiness the Dalai Lama uses these words for the meditation: “May you be free from suffering. May you be healthy. May you be happy. May you find peace and joy.” 

The meditation begins by imagining receiving this compassionate message from someone who loves you. You then begin to expand outward, sending compassion to someone very close to you. The next step is to include other people that you love. The compassion then expands outward to include neutral people, who you don’t have strong feelings about either way. Next is to extend compassion toward those who you dislike. Finally, the meditation is expanded to all living beings. 

Receiving Compassion from Others 

What were some instances when important people in your life have been kind and caring towards you? 

What were some instances when people you barely knew were kind or caring towards you? 

What were some situations in which you felt a sense of belonging? 

Evaluating Self-Compassion 

The items below are based on compassion researcher Dr. Kristin Neff’s Self-Compassion Scale. They make a useful place to start in understanding how compassionate we are towards ourselves. 

1. I’m judgmental about my own flaws. 

2. When I’m feeling down I tend to fixate on all that’s wrong. 

3. When things are going badly, I tend to think that most other people don’t go through such difficulties. 

4. When I think about my flaws, I tend to feel isolated from the rest of the world. 

5. When I fail at something important I’m consumed by feelings of inadequacy. 

6. When things upset me I try to keep my emotions in check. 

7. I’m intolerant of the aspects of myself I don’t like. 

8. When I’m feeling low, I believe that most other people are feeling happier than I am. 

9. When things are difficult for me, I tend to think it must be easier for other people. 

Self-Compassion Challenge 

Do a daily self-compassion rating for one week. Use a rating scale of 0-10, with 0 being the level of compassion you would show to someone you dislike, and 10 being the level of compassion you would show to the person nearest and dearest to you if they were in need. 

Each day, try to identify three examples of what you did to show compassion. Try to bring a little bit more compassion to yourself every day. Did you find that paying attention to self-compassion made it any easier or harder to practice? Did you notice any changes in the level of self-compassion the more days you practiced?


Pritam Chakraborty

As I was moving through life, I occasionally saw brief glimpses of beauty.

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