12 Minute Meditation: A Loving-Kindness Practice to Anchor in Compassion

Learning to love ourselves and others when our expectations aren’t being met is hard, but with practice we can open our hearts and learn to love what’s challenging.

Adobe Stock/ CameraCraft

When I was asked what kind of mindfulness practice I’d like to offer to young people, the very first thing that came up for me was the practice of loving-kindness. Other ways of putting it is the practice of unconditional friendliness or the practice of being kind to oneself and all other beings. Through my own experience working with thousands of young people, my sense of the cultural Western conditioning is to be really hard on ourselves. We often try to achieve perfection which gives us really high expectations. Then, when we fall below these expectations, there’s a habit of self-criticism. I think it’s such good medicine and so important that I learned to be kind to myself, the same way that I would be kind and compassionate and friendly toward my best friend if they made a mistake or were struggling in some way. I think that’s when we need love and kindness the most. It’s easy to offer love to myself and other people when I’m doing a good job, but I think what makes us good at love is when we’re able to love what’s difficult, what’s challenging.