In 2010, I was once again struck down, this time by chronic stress and exhaustion after four years of painful events and losses. As a result, I needed to learn how to heal myself once again. The research I did led to developing a course on holistic wellness for midlife women, which I called Choosing To Be Fit.
During the beta test of the course, the participants resonated so deeply with the Self-Compassion module that I decided to let the Choosing To Be Fit course sit for a while, and began researching and writing the course that would become Unshakable Self-Compassion. The approach that resonated most with me was the three-part model of Self-Compassion developed by Kristen Neff: Mindfulness, Self-Kindness, and Common Humanity.
I had been meditating for almost 20 years and had developed a Mindfulness habit in my everyday life. After years of self-sabotage and being cruel to myself, I now saw my relentless pursuit of Self Kindness was essential to my own survival. The final piece of the puzzle for me was Common Humanity and its relationship to Self-Compassion.
Common Humanity means recognizing our connection to others, particularly in our confusion, sorrows, imperfections and weaknesses. My decision to share my story, one that I too would rather have kept secret rather than endure the shame revealing it might bring, is one step toward Common Humanity. I do this to help others realize that they are not alone. We have had the same journey with different details, and each of us have had pain in our lives.
Many of us have lived in the shadow of shame. We are either too ashamed to allow ourselves to be vulnerable, or we protect ourselves by being judgmental of others so that we can come out on top.
The problem is — it’s lonely at both the top and the bottom. It’s time to learn to be in the middle, to be part of Common Humanity.
This recognition has been life changing for me. It has changed my relationships and my ability to be truly self-compassionate. Now it is time to share what I know, to help other women find and bring self-compassion into their lives.