A lot of people have difficulty wishing themselves well, even in lovingkindness meditation. Here’s an approach that might help.
Imagine that you’ve been transported back in time, and you have the opportunity to hold yourself moments after your own birth. How would it be to cradle that tiny body in your hands, to see this small being, newly emerged into the world, so full of potential?
What would you want for this tiny version of yourself? I’d imagine you’d want him or her to grow up healthy and happy, to have the resilience to deal with life’s difficulties, and to be a kind and ethical person.
- Cultivating kindness toward yourself
- Ways to cultivate kindness in meditation
- Keeping the mind on track
- Overcoming resistance to meditation (a self-compassionate guide)
What would you feel? Love? Protectiveness? Joy? Care? Awe?
Would you have any anger or resentment against this newborn you? I presume not. Any blame? I doubt it.
You don’t have to time-travel to have this experience. This is what it can be like to have self-compassion and to be kind toward yourself. This is what it can be like to hold your own being in awareness, and to regard it with care, tenderness, and appreciation, to accept yourself as you are, to see yourself as newborn in every moment, to want nothing but the best for yourself.
Next time you feel hurt, or unsure, or anxious, or ashamed, try imagining that the hurt part of you is like a tiny baby that’s in need of reassurance. Give yourself loving attention. Hold yourself with tenderness, with kindness.
When we relate to ourselves in this way, it’s easier to regard others too in a similarly compassionate and kindly way. Self-compassion is not selfish—it’s the first step in being genuinely compassionate to all beings.