Let’s Try Mindfulness
Shame is the feeling of being unworthy of love and belonging. It’s a painful emotion, and the main reason I practice Kristin Neff’s self-compassion elements, but treating ourselves with compassion any time we are suffering is helpful. Whether it’s physical pain, a time of mourning, or increased stress, self-compassion can help keep us healthy.
Mindfulness is an awareness of awareness. It’s holding a space of, “I’m in pain and I’m aware of it,” which is different than how most of us “deal” with the pain in our lives. We tend to over-identify with undesirable feelings, or we ignore and suppress them.
Over-identifying with emotion might sound like, “Why am I in pain again? I shouldn’t be in pain! I’ve always been in pain and I’m always going to be in pain!”
Suppression of emotion might look like gritted teeth, distraction, and outbursts if our tops pop off from the pressure of holding it all in.
We can’t tend to our suffering if we’re swept away in waves of over-identification, and we can’t heal if we don’t feel. So what can we do? We can practice mindfulness, being aware of, and nonjudgemental toward our feelings, as part of our self-compassion practice.