Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC)
What is Mindful Self Compassion?
MSC is an 8-week training program designed to cultivate the skill of self-compassion through self-kindness, common humanity, and mindful awareness.
Participants will learn tools to utilize throughout life to:
- Handle difficult emotions with greater ease
- Build your capacity to handle stressful challenges
- Care for yourself while caring for others
- Reconnect to the values that give your life and work meaning
“With self-compassion, we give ourselves the same kindness and care we’d give to a good friend.”
Robin’s Experience with MSC
One of my greatest yearnings has always been about having family harmony. As the youngest I often felt powerless to make any changes in my family. “If only people knew how to get along!” During my family medicine training I was introduced to Virginia Satir’s work and her positive way of being, of viewing others and the world. I was so hopeful again that peace and harmony were achievable. I continued to strive to make this happen in others. Through this journey of learning Satir’s methods and therapy, of experiencing transformations within, it became clearer that harmony had to come from within first.
I had to let go of striving to make it happen.
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I learned I am powerless to change others, or situations as much as I want to be able to fix things and work at it. I learned I had to be kinder and gentler with myself first. As I discovered the work of Kristen Neff and Chris Germer and experienced Mindful Self-Compassion I was able to open up to this wish of harmony again. Virginia said “Peace within, Peace Between and Peace Among.” I have experienced this with Mindful Self-Compassion; as we discover our own compassionate self we can have more peace within, which will bring about peace between and among others.
As you are reading this – take a moment to notice how your body is responding. Notice your breath… Notice the sensations of breathing in… and breathing out. Coming into this moment – What do you really need? We often look at what we want. When I have this… I will be happy. The suffering felt when we are not able to be where we are and want to be somewhere else.
This can be viewed as a moment of struggle or suffering. Not being able to be with what “is”, right now: always wanting things to be different. What if we could recognize that other human beings, like us, have had at one time or another had a similar experience of wanting more, waiting for someone or something to make us happy or content? We are not alone. It is part of the human condition. We can be connected in this common experience of suffering or struggle. And what if in this moment of suffering we were able to be kind with rather than criticize ourselves for not being somewhere else or not feeling something else? This is Mindful Self-Compassion; the act of noticing first that we are struggling or suffering, remembering that we are not alone, others have experienced this as well and then treating ourselves as we might treat a friend who was struggling in the same way.
Once again, I invite you to notice what you are experiencing now. Do you notice any thoughts, beliefs, feelings, body sensations? Is it possible that these parts of yourselves that hold these thoughts, beliefs or feelings are what keep you from feeling OK? Consider taking the Mindful Self-Compassion course described below.
Mindful Self-Compassion Courses & Workshops
Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) is an empirically-supported, 8-week, training program designed to cultivate the skill of self-compassion. Based on the groundbreaking research of Kristin Neff and the clinical expertise of Christopher Germer, MSC teaches core principles and practices that enable participants to respond to difficult moments in their lives with kindness, care and understanding.
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The three key components of self-compassion are self-kindness, a sense of common humanity, and balanced, mindful awareness. Kindness opens our hearts to suffering, so we can give ourselves what we need. Common humanity opens us to our essential interrelatedness, so that we know we aren’t alone. Mindfulness opens us to the present moment, so we can accept our experience with greater ease. Together they comprise a state of warm-hearted, connected presence.
Self-compassion can be learned by anyone, even those who didn’t receive enough affection in childhood or who feel uncomfortable when they are good to themselves. It’s a courageous attitude that stands up to harm, including the harm that we unwittingly inflict on ourselves through self-criticism, self-isolation, or self-absorption. Self-compassion provides emotional strength and resilience, allowing us to admit our shortcomings, motivate ourselves with kindness, forgive ourselves when needed, relate wholeheartedly to others, and be more authentically ourselves.
Rapidly expanding research demonstrates that self-compassion is strongly associated with emotional wellbeing, less anxiety, depression and stress, maintenance of healthy habits such as diet and exercise, and satisfying personal relationships. And it’s easier than you think.
After participating in this course, you’ll be able to:
- Practice self-compassion in daily life
- Understand the empirically-supported benefits of self-compassion
- Motivate yourself with kindness rather than criticism
- Handle difficult emotions with greater ease
- Transform challenging relationships, old and new
- Manage caregiver fatigue
- Practice the art of savoring and self-appreciation
No previous experience with mindfulness or meditation is required to attend MSC. Interested participants are required to attend a 60 minute Information Session prior to starting the course.
The best thing I did this year (indeed, in a long time) was to take the 8-week Mindful Self-Compassion course, offered by Dr. Robin Beardsley. It did not solve my problems, rather, more importantly, it gave me a variety of tools to manage my day and its inherent stressors. With these, I have been able to find stability during times of crisis and maintain my equilibrium during difficult interactions; there is less overwhelm and far more peace. More importantly, I feel much more able to take the next steps in looking more closely at my situation and working towards a more harmonious, beneficial way of being.
For anyone considering this course and intimidated by potential self-disclosure or embarrassing, awkward role play, please know these sessions unfold in the most respectful way. Dr. Beardsley is excellent in creating a safe space, free of judgement or expectation. From the beginning, the emphasis is on self-care, and approaches to honouring our boundaries and tender places are taught, discussed, practiced, and modelled. I am amazed at how we grew together as a group in mutual support and kindness, without any of the usual “get to know you” conversations or details! More remarkable is how my interior landscape changed when I learned to offer that same support and kindness to myself.