A Loving-Kindness Practice to Foster Acceptance
Accepting love from others and believing that you deserve to be happy isn’t always easy. Consider how much time many of us spend wishing we were different—ruminating over the past, judging ourselves for our mistakes, comparing our life to others, worrying about what the future will bring. It uses up a huge amount of our attention. By practicing loving-kindness, you can take all of that energy and re-direct it towards yourself in a positive way.
By practicing loving-kindness, you can take all of that energy and re-direct it towards yourself in a positive way.
Loving-kindness helps us focus our attention on a place within ourselves where we can foster love and compassion, and let it flourish. By taking care of yourself first, you open up space to then include others into your sphere of kindness.
Explore This Loving-Kindness Practice
This loving-kindness practice is from Sharon Salzberg and involves silently repeating phrases that offer good qualities to oneself and to others.
- You can start by taking delight in your own goodness calling to mind things you have done out of good heartedness and rejoicing in those memories to celebrate the potential for goodness we all share.
- Silently recite phrases that reflect what we wish most deeply for ourselves in an enduring way. Traditional phrases are, “May I live in safety. May I have mental happiness or peace or joy. May I have physical happiness health or freedom from pain. May I live with ease.”
- Repeat the phrases with enough space and silence between so they fall into a rhythm that is pleasing to you. Direct your attention to one phrase at a time.
- Each time you notice your attention has wandered, be kind to yourself and let go of the distraction. Come back to repeating the phrases without judging or disparaging yourself.
- After some time, visualize yourself in the center of a circle composed of those who have been kind to you or have inspired you because of their love. Perhaps you’ve met them or read about them. Perhaps they live now or have existed historically or even mystically that is the circle as you visualize yourself in the center of it experience yourself as the recipient of their love and attention keep gently repeating the phrases of loving-kindness for yourself.
- To close the session, let go of the visualization and simply keep repeating the phrases for a few more minutes. Each time you do so you are transforming your old hurtful relationship to yourself and are moving forward, sustained by the force of kindness.