Well, I’ve been doing Shadow Work on my lack of compassion for John McCain‘s brain cancer issue, and I’ve discovered it goes back to my own lack of self-compassion issue, which I’ve discussed before. More than a lack of compassion for an evil man who is suffering is my own lack of compassion for myself, since I have been berating myself for feeling this way! And if I can’t have compassion for myself, how can I have it for another human being? sigh. Damn, I have a lot of work to do here.
I have worked with the issue of my lack of compassion or sympathy for his plight, and I still feel he is unworthy of my sympathy. Unworthiness…hmmm…where else have I encountered this? Oh yeah…in myself! 😦 So ultimately, it turns out this isn’t even really about McCain, but my own issues that are coming up to bite me in the butt! So…I am working on self-compassion now. Again. Still. Wow…it’s really something how these deep-seated issues have so many layers to sift through! I know it’s the ascension energies right now, and there’s the eclipse coming up, which is supposed to be intense too. Geez…wonder if I can handle any more intensity?!?!? bleah
I do want to say though, Kristin Neff and Tara Brach are wonderful resources for helping with this. Kristen has developed a self diagnostic tool for assessing your level of Self Compassion and I actually did pretty good on it. But…there were some glaring gaps. Yeah, those gaps point to some bigger problems for me. Here is the link to the test, and here is a link to her exercises. I am currently working on these exercises in my Shadow work.
My scores were:
Common Humanity: 3.25
Overall score: 3.23
And to interpret them, this is the scale
Average overall self-compassion scores tend to be around 3.0 on the 1-5 scale, so you can interpret your overall score accordingly. As a rough guide, a score of 1-2.5 for your overall self-compassion score indicates you are low in self-compassion, 2.5-3.5 indicates you are moderate, and 3.5-5.0 means you are high. Remember that higher scores for the Self-Judgment, Isolation, and Over-Identification subscales indicate less self-compassion, while lower scores on these dimensions are indicative of more self-compassion (these subscales are automatically reverse-coded when your overall self-compassion score is calculated.)
My overall score was 3.23 which is moderate. The bad thing is that the high scores for Isolation and Over-Identification are bad things, and the low score for self-judgment also points out another factor that I need to work on. Yes, I tend to judge myself harshly, like with the McCain thing. I’ve really been beating myself up for not being a better person and feeling more compassion for the man. I already know the isolation thing is a factor…I am very anti-social and live alone and don’t have any friends, and prefer my isolation…I’m rather agoraphobic even. Although this isn’t what she means…she means that I tend to feel isolated in my negative experiences rather than seeing the commonality in human experience. But I know that my isolation from other people is a real problem in being able to see the commonality with other humans. And the over-identification aspect refers to my tendency to over-identify with the feelings and thoughts of the negative situations, rather than being mindful of them and neither suppressing them nor indulging them too much.
It’s a really fascinating thing to study, but I hate that I have so much work to do. But both Kristin Neff and Tara Brach have very soothing personas, and their videos are really easy to watch and learn from. Here’s one of Kristin Neff’s TedX sessions:
And here is one by Tara Brach…I recommend them both if you have similar issues!
Tara has this RAIN concept, well a different spin on it, which is actually already a self-compassion mindfulness technique, that she outlines in the video. RAIN refers to: RECOGNIZE what is happening, ALLOW life to be just as it is, INVESTIGATE inner experience with kind attention, and NON-IDENTIFICATION; rest in natural awareness. I downloaded this little workbook based on her book. Yup, lots of work to do. But…some new tools to use as a supplement to my shadow work. 🙂
Geez…I remember claiming I didn’t have anything to work on when I first got interested in Shadow Work…yup, I’m kicking myself now! LOL