In an earlier post, I discussed the R.A.I.N. meditation process – recognise, accept, investigate, nurture – as a way to address situations, including interactions with another, that generate strong negative feelings. What happens, though, when your ineffective behaviour and negative feelings continue to recur after using the R.A.I.N. process?
We can be the captive of addiction, trapped in habituated responses to adverse stimuli, or stressed to the point that we have little control over our response when we are aggravated by an event or another person. We may have lost our response ability through a lack of consciousness of our words and actions and their injurious impact on others, often unintended.
Tara Brach likens our daily life and its challenges to the waves of the ocean – we can’t stop the waves, but we can learn how to surf them so that we do not get “dumped” by them. If we persist in blaming ourselves for falling off the surfboard of life occasionally, we can become paralysed by fear of failure. This, in turn, can be compounded by our endless self-judging.
Self-judging imprisons us
We all have some form of negative self-evaluation – it may be stimulated by an event, adverse experience or over-reaction to a person we find annoying or critical of our behaviour. We regularly blame ourselves or undervalue who we are or what we have contributed. We might think that we do not “measure up” to our own standards, values or expectations or those of our family or significant other.
Our assessment of our response to a situation may be accurate in terms of inappropriateness, but the continual self-judging and self-denigrating disempowers us and detracts from our happiness and joy in life. We become reluctant to engage effectively with our work colleagues, withdrawn in our conversations with our life partner or reticent to raise issues that affect us in other situations. The way to regain our freedom and joy is through self-compassion.
Self-compassion frees us from the imprisonment of self-judging
Self-compassion enables us to break the trap of self-judging and be open to new responses to adverse situations. It requires a radical self-acceptance and acknowledgement of what is human – our depth of suffering from previous experiences that manifests itself in our daily response to what is experienced as adverse events. The perception of the impact of these events on us and our self-esteem is coloured by our recollections and interpretations of prior experiences.
As we grow in mindfulness through self-compassion meditation, we can break out of the cycle of self-judging and become open to different responses and to the freedom realised when we can break free of negative self-evaluations.
By Ron Passfield – Copyright (Creative Commons license, Attribution–Non Commercial–No Derivatives)
Image source: courtesy of cocoparisienne on Pixabay
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