What an amazing Monday evening! 40 random people from Mexico City logged onto Zoom to experience a
one hour “Master Class” about Mindful Self-Compassion as taught by my friend, Andrea Funes and me. Andrea and I met in August of 2021 when we took intensive training to teach Mindful Self-Compassion in Madrid, Spain. She flew over from the DF (Mexico City) and I from Santa Fe, NM. We joined about 28 other people in a monastery outside of the city to deepen our understanding of the 8 week program originally developed by Kristin Neff of the University of Texas and Chris Germer, a clinical psychologist and part time lecturer at Harvard’s medical school. For 7 days Chris Germer himself, the founder of the Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American branches of the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion and a few other trainers, walked us through the program and how to convey it to others. We bonded deeply as a cohort through this week. And further bonded during our ten week practicum online. Since then most of us have been pairing up in various iterations teaching the program as trained teachers throughout Spain, in Chile, Mexico and New Mexico. 18 of us wrote a book together telling our stories of what brought us to Mindful Self-Compassion, Aprender a Amarnos.
What does that have to do with a Monday night? Well, tonight, in anticipation of our fourth collaboration, we co-taught a one hour class to more than 40 people (young adults, middle aged, elderly, men and women) on what Mindful Self-Compassion is (it’s not usually what people think it is), so we described what it is not, and then we discussed why self-compassion affords people more resilience and strength than self-esteem. After a couple of exercises people were genuinely blown away! One man, Cesar, said he was a skeptic, when he saw the flyer he was struck by the assertion that self-compassion is an antidote to anxiety and serves more than self-esteem. He came in doubt but left in a state of awe. Really awe? Well, yes, it seems that people are kind of awestruck when they realize that being kinder to themselves can help them be more motivated to try new things and help them stop doing things they don’t want to do in the face of stress and struggle. One woman, Rosy, wondered whether this might serve her daughter who overeats and drinks when challenged. I suggested that the mother of a daughter that age probably couldn’t tell her daughter to be self-compassionate and see results but perhaps that Rosy, herself could set an example by learning how to treat herself better.
On the wings of self-compassion, I know that I can deal better with the broken windshields (yes multiple), the sudden need to replace car parts, the veterinary emergencies, interpersonal stuff that comes up as the mother of teens, financial curveballs of small business ownership, not to mention all of the other unexpected left turns and ongoing stressors life brings each day. I ask myself what I need in moments of stress. I practice speaking to myself in a respectful warm tone and wishing myself well in infinite ways depending on what my current and ongoing struggles are. It may sound trite, but it really is my superpower.
If you’d like to learn more, join my free introduction to Mindful Self-Compassion for Parents of Teens next week, Wed., Sept. 20 from 6:30pm to 7:30pm MST. Even if your not the parent of a teen, you’ll learn more about Mindful Self-Compassion.