Self-Compassion During Difficult Times

Read about my experiences with self-compassion when someone important to me ended up in the hospital and how I welcomed all my emotions to have tea with me.


There is no controlling life.

Try corralling a lightning bolt,

containing a tornado.  Dam a

stream and it will create a new

channel.  Resist, and the tide

will sweep you off your feet.

Allow, and grace will carry

you to higher ground.  The only

safety lies in letting it all in –

the wild and the weak; fear,

fantasies, failures and success.

When loss rips off the doors of

the heart, or sadness veils your

vision with despair, practice

becomes simply bearing the truth.

In the choice to let go of your

known way of being, the whole

world is revealed to your new eyes.

~ Danna Faulds

Just recently, someone important to me ended up in the hospital.  Thankfully, everything turned out well, but the unexpected event had unknowingly left me feeling vulnerable, anxious and fearful.  I realized after some consideration that due to my daily practice of meditation, self-love and compassion, that I hadn’t felt that low in a long time.  I had forgotten what it felt like to wake up with a feeling of heaviness and dread.  This week I had that feeling. I woke up with an overwhelming sense of sadness, and vulnerability.   Furthermore, since I am a believer that we create our own realities (that is for another post), I was angry at myself that I had allowed my thoughts and emotions to get me to this place where I had so successfully (at least I thought), managed to get myself out of after many years of suffering with anxiety.   In my heart, I knew I needed to take the day to be with my sadness but the “worker bee” in me said, you can’t take the day off, you have X, Y and Z do to today.  Thank goodness, I am lucky to have great friends.  One of my friends posted on her wall that sometimes busyness is a distraction in order for us not to feel our feelings.  That deeply resonated with me as I knew that whatever I decided to create that day, was going to be done in fear and not in love and alignment.  So I took the day off to be with myself and sit with my difficult emotions.  I am lucky to be an entrepreneur, who can take the day off however, others are not so lucky. For those who cannot take the day off, I suggest taking micro breaks of self-compassion.   Check out our video on the self-compassion break: here.

I decided to be with my difficult emotions by first checking in my body what I was feeling. I could sense a heaviness in heart that felt like a closed fist.  “Sadness” was the first word that came to my mind, along with disappointment, and fear.  I chose to breathe as each emotion arose.   I knew that being in resistance of what I was feeling was making me feel worse so I decided to fully embrace everything that showed up. I didn’t dwell on the thoughts as much as I focused on feeling the emotions.

How I decided to embrace what showed up was to invite all my emotions to have tea with me.  This may seem silly, but I envisioned in my imagination a large table, and all my emotions were invited to sit down.  Each one was allowed to speak and when I felt my body tensing as one of my emotions was speaking, I would breathe into the spot to release the feeling.  This enabled me to soften the emotion and allow it to pass.  After each of my guests was invited to speak, I moved to the soothing part of the exercise.  I decided to place my hand on my heart and send love to each of those emotions with tender words. I said things like: “thank you for showing up for me, I know you are giving me feedback about where I am” or “thank you, I know this made you afraid”.  I also envisioned each emotion as a little baby, which I rocked and soothed saying “out of this situation, only good will come.  Everything is alright.  All is well.”  These actions allowed the emotions to release and shift into alignment.  Lastly, after the most challenging emotions had released, I did some minor meditations during the day, focused on opening my heart and keeping me in a state of joy and gratitude. 

Working with my difficult emotions helped me remember that I have much to be grateful for including being alive today! I also remembered that I have grown substantially over the years as I was able to honor myself by taking time to be with myself and so the emotions were able to release much faster than before.   We may have no control over what happens to others in our lives, but we do get to choose how we react to things and whether we are going to hurt ourselves with our thoughts or whether we are going to choose to be there for ourselves when challenging emotions arise.  

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