Healing Heart: A Practice of Self-Compassion

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We don’t often talk about “the heart” in classrooms; the mind has traditionally been the focus. Exciting research on the power of the heart has been revealing its role in learning, decision-making, higher thinking, and communication. Perhaps guiding our attention toward this often neglected organ can bring a new layer of intelligence to our human experience – both in and out of the classroom.

In our “Educate 2B” curriculum, there is an entire section dedicated to compassion. The practices in this section are devoted to cultivating love and kindness towards oneself and others.  One practice I want to share with you today is called Healing Heart. 

Educators have a tremendously giving heart. Unfortunately, it often gets drained. The Healing Heart practice is designed to help you supercharge your loving energy for yourself. Then, there is inherently more to give without the “love battery” being depleted.

Each of the practices in our “Educate 2B” manual is geared toward the student, but a modification for the adult is provided as well. For we, too, need to cultivate the energy of compassion.

Healing Heart for Educators:

Do you have an overzealous inner critic?

Do you fiercely judge yourself? 

Do you fixate on things that have gone “wrong,” and begin to feel inadequate when challenges arise?

Do you believe most people are happier than you are?

You may find some degree of truth in any or all of these. However, you probably bestow buckets of kindness, compassion, and support to others and easily find ways to help them during their times of challenge. You see, you are actually really good at being compassionate. You just haven’t practiced sprinkling that energy onto the person you see in the mirror each day. Self-compassion is turning the same love and care you give to others inward to support your own emotional development and acceptance. 

Try these suggestions and just see how they feel. 

  • Make a list of five ways you are proud of yourself. Write them down as if you were talking to yourself. For example, “Allison, I am so proud of you for writing a blog post about compassion.” “Allison, I am so proud of you for drinking a full glass of water before your cup of coffee this morning.” “Allison, I am so proud of you for silencing your phone all morning so you can get your work done without interruptions.” “Allison, I am so proud of you for taking 5 minutes to just breathe.” You get the idea? I am stating the little things that are true. And while they may seem insignificant, science has proven that it is the accumulation of these small accomplishments that can change the wiring in your brain and help you develop new habits. 
  • Write ten statements you would say to a dear friend in need. Such as, “I am here for you if you need anything. You are not alone in this. You will get through this. I know it feels hard right now, but this shall pass.” Now, put your name in front of each statement, and say it out loud to yourself. 
  • Write a love letter to yourself. This can be a challenge. One trick I use for this is imagining my grandmother writing me this letter. In my mind, she was the epitome of unconditional love. Can you think of anyone that can represent that for you (real or fictional)? 
  • Read. Two books I recommend are: “Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind and Self-Compassion” by Kristin Kneff and “Good Morning, I Love You: Mindfulness and Self-Compassion Practices to Rewire Your Brain for Calm, Clarity, and Joy” by Shauna Shapiro.

Let me know if you have other practices of self-compassion or what you discovered trying any of these suggestions by leaving a comment below.