Part One: The Many Paths to Self-Compassion: Living with your Heart Wide Open

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Investigating how you can cultivate self-compassion in your life involves an exploration of how you relate to your body, thoughts, and emotions, and also how you choose and maintain your relationships.
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Considering how we can be more compassionate to our bodies can help many of us see how very little compassion we have for ourselves and how hard we push ourselves physically.
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You may find yourself answering yet another e-mail even though you’ve needed to use the bathroom for over an hour, or you may eat junk food from the nearest source just so you can get back to work sooner.
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You may convince yourself that you don’t have time to exercise, or you may have a somewhat perverse sense of pride in how little sleep you get.
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Paying attention to the many ways you mistreat your body can provide a great deal of insight into how you can begin practicing self-compassion right now—simply by reversing many of these habits.
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It’s the same with thoughts and emotions.
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You can learn to witness unpleasant thoughts and emotions with self-compassion, and even come to feel a certain amount of compassion for the inner critic (which often helps calm this eternal source of self-criticism).
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When you notice that you’re being hard on yourself for something like being late for an appointment, you can turn toward this self-criticism with a soft and kind acknowledgement, like “It’s only a mistake; I love you anyway.”
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