Mindfulness has gained widespread usage over the last few decades thanks to the great work of Thich Nhat Hanh and Jon Kabat-Zinn. During recent years there has been an explosion of mindfulness related websites and apps with guided meditations lasting anywhere from 15-seconds to 30-minutes or longer. Because of this, there is now a basic societal awareness of mindfulness practices and what mindfulness is about. However, there is only a basic awareness, which is borderline superficial. Therefore, we at Cross Culture Therapy have decided to create a blog series focusing on deeper levels of mindfulness practice, in hopes of educating our Third Culture Kid clients about its possible application to feelings of disassociation, displacement and rudderlessness. In this blog post, we explore the three ingredients that make up self-compassion, as outlined in Tim Desmond’s book Self-Compassion in Psychotherapy.
Tim Desmond adopts a formulaic approach to the concept of self-compassion, introducing its three main aspects as ingredients.
I know I am suffering + I know I am trying to create happiness. + I am not alone in this. = I am wishing myself well.
In order to achieve self-compassion, at first we have to see our suffering. If we want to achieve compassion for others, we have to see their suffering. Being honest with our feelings of suffering adds an additional layer to our identity, which our subconscious finds easily relatable. If we do not see our suffering, our subconscious will find ways in which to ridicule us. The same applies to our views of other people. If we are not aware of their suffering, we can find it easier to ridicule them. This is often the case when extroverted people meet introverted people or when dealing with a work colleague who doesn’t seem to be “pulling their weight” at the office. Delving deeper into their personal life and exploring issues affecting them will reveal their suffering and make them more relatable to you. Self-compassion is about doing this to yourself. You must ask yourself why you are suffering and how you feel and rationalise the experience.
The second ingredient is understanding. We have to understand that we are trying to achieve happiness, no matter how bad we are at going about it. All humans, in one way or another, are obsessed with the pursuit of happiness and the avoidance of grief. This is our nature. We run to positive feelings and run away from negative feelings. Our journey to happiness may seem different from someone else’s but the intended destination is always the same. Everything that we do, whether it is working, family life, hobbies, consuming drugs, alcoholism, watching tv, sports, practicing religion etc, is done in the hopes of achieving happiness. This is something that we have to remind ourselves of when we fail. The drug addict must realise that they consume drugs in order to achieve happiness and learn to forgive themselves for going about it in the wrong way.
The third and final ingredient is realising that you are not alone. Everyone around us is trying to achieve happiness and it is at the times when our paths cross that conflict can arise. Our search for happiness may stand in the way of someone else’s. This is a fact of life. We must be accepting of this and take solace in the fact that we are all pursuing the same thing. This will make it easier for you to relate to other people as well as yourself.
Self-compassion can be applied at times of disarray, but has a stronger effect if applied evenly throughout a person’s life. For Third Culture Kids, it can be used during times of intense loneliness and during the transition phase from Third Culture Kid to Adult Third Culture Kid when questions of identity and belonging are at their strongest.
Self-Compassion in Psychotherapy – Tim Desmond
What We Do!
Cross Culture Therapy offers 1-on-1 online therapy sessions. Although our therapy services are specifically tailored to Third Culture Kids (people who have grown up in a culture different to their parent’s passport culture) and Cross Culture Kids, we welcome all people who seek our help. Our sessions are conducted via Skype for a duration of 50-minutes and can be purchased in packs of 1-session, 5-sessions or 10-sessions. If you are interested in purchasing a session, click on the Book A Session tab on our menu or click here.
【Throwback Thursday】Posting a popular classic straight from our archive – Accepting and Taking Care of your Feelings of Loneliness. How do you take care of your feelings of #loneliness? Link: https://t.co/YlWkA8f6nm #depression #therapy pic.twitter.com/yHgO57dMyB— Cross Culture Therapy (@crossculturethe) January 3, 2019
Reviews From Social Media!
— Jane Kelly Amerson Lopez (@raisedintheFS) September 15, 2018