Now that you’ve identified the necessity for Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) in your recovery, how do you integrate these ideas into everyday living?
- Decide if you’re open to practicing self-compassion. Maybe you have other parts of your recovery you would like to address first. Do you have other life priorities? Your choice to practice self-compassion is also about timing. Ask yourself if this is the best time for you to focus on this practice. Like everything, it takes time, energy and investment. Determine if this is the right time for you.
- Read books about shame such as Healing the Shame that Binds you by John Bradshaw or The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown. These books will help you clarify what needs healing attention.
- Read the Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook by Kristin Neff and Chris Germer. Workbooks give you the opportunity to take specific steps toward immersing yourself in this practice.
- Read my recent book It’s Not About the Sex: Moving from Isolation to Intimacy after Sexual Addiction. When I wrote this book, my intention was to come from a place of compassion for self and others. Because recovery from compulsive sexual behavior is often rooted in shame and self-loathing, I wanted to offer a hopeful and compassionate recovery guide. One of the joys of writing the book has been the feedback from readers who have found more compassion for themselves.
- Read the Acceptance Prayer from the Alcoholic Anonymous Big Book (or google it) to accompany your self-compassion work. By reciting this prayer on a regular basis, it becomes an ongoing reminder of being in the moment with curiosity and without self-judgment.
- Recite the following as a possible mantra “May I have the willingness to accept myself for exactly who I am at any given moment” and “May I have the willingness to accept ____ (fill in the blank with another person) for exactly who they are at any given moment.” Acceptance and self-acceptance are close cousins of self-compassion.
- Listen to Chris Germer, Tara Brach and/or Kristin Neff, three of the leaders in the MSC community. You can find Chris Germer’s 6-minute Self-Compassion Break on YouTube which is one of my favorite guided meditations.
- Listen to Episode 31 of my podcast, Self-compassion and Mindful Recovery with my associate, Jen Davis. My podcast is entitled It’s Not About the Sex and can be found on iTunes, Spotify or Podbean. This lively conversation offers a deeper dive into mindful self-compassion.
- Self-compassion and compassion are portable. Don’t wait for a podcast or a book or even a prayer. Carry the intention of being more self-compassionate and eventually it will become part of your everyday being.
Mindful self-compassion requires a conscious choice to be kinder to yourself. It sounds so easy—yet, it’s a lifelong practice. Identify the inner critic when it reveals itself and replace it with acceptance, patience and compassion.