Janet Pearlman

Living in the Stream of Yes

Practice Self-Compassion                           


When we travel on the path of grow, we are encouraged to take stock of ourselves regularly and make course corrections. We want to notice our habits of thought and when necessary, shift toward ones that serve us more constructively.

In this process of unfolding, let’s place self-compassion front and center. Let’s appreciate where we are at any moment, even in those instances when we catch ourselves with an outdated perspective.

Sure, for the many of us who have habits of self judgement we can be tempted to criticize ourselves when we don’t “approve of” what we find. In this post we illustrate some possible steps to new behavior finding kindness for ourselves, self-compassion. As a result we are able to create change more effectively and experience more joy on the journey.

Diane’s Pond 2, 16 x 20, SOLD

Heather feels Distress

Heather wanted to get some advice from a spiritually attuned wise friend who had helped her in the past. H began, “I have been crying. I feel very upset. I realize I have been inauthentic to Craig (this man I’ve been seeing). I wanted him to visit for longer and more frequently. In a light way I asked him if he was running home to his girlfriend.  

Oh Gosh. I am so bad. I really don’t want him to have a woman other than me!”

Heather felt distraught, so ashamed of her behavior. The wise guide shared a perspective from the work Good Morning, I love You by Shauna Shapiro. In that work Shapiro points out the chemical effect in our beings when we trigger shame. “When we feel shame the amygdala, the part of our brain that is central to memory, decision making and emotional responses, triggers a cascade of norepinephrine and cortisol chemicals that increase our stress level, narrow our perspectives n perceived ‘threats’ and inhibit our cognitive flexibility. Shame puts in the fight, flight or freeze survival response, thereby inhibiting the learning center of the brain… If we want to learn from our mistakes, we need a compassionate mind set, not shame. “[1]

Advice from a Wise Counselor

What could Heather say to herself that would be more constructive? Her trusted companion responded,

“First let’s understand why the dear one inside behaved that way. You meant to respect Craig. You did not want to demand too much from him or crowd him. We can see you were feeling your way to interest him, maintain the connection and the flow.

In this processing, you now discern your own inner desires. You do want more from him—exclusivity, a bit more commitment and closeness, perhaps more frequent visits.  Isn’t that good to know that is what you desire! You have more clarity about what you want, always a good thing!

You have a bright future! When you feel ready, you can share with him that which you have learned about what you want at a deeper level. You can accept yourself as you enjoy this companion. It’s ok to know you want something more committed. Will he be turned off when you inform him that you want that? We don’t know until we ask. You can choose what you ask and when.

You can support yourself as you prepare yourself to share more of your heart. You are worthy of your own love for yourself right now.”

Did this piece offer some insight? Do you have a story about self-compassion to share? Please comment! We love empowering one another.

[1] Shauna Shapiro, Good Morning, I Love You, (Boulder, CO, Sounds True, 2020) p. 79

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