Perhaps you could start by thanking yourself for taking the time for this course. Yes, it may feel a bit silly to thank yourself. But merely by choosing this course, you have taken the first step toward a more compassionate attitude to yourself. You have already taken the most important step: identifying that you are not always very kind to yourself. 

The aim of this course is to offer you some important insights about how the heck those secure people manage to stand still when the storm comes. By training your mind to be more forgiving and compassionate, you can hopefully experience less stress and suffering in life. A positive side effect is that you may become more empathetic to others as well. 

The course that you have now started will cover: 

  • Facts about why we, as humans, are prone to being overly self-critical;

  • Information about emotions and the purpose they serve;

  • Some insights about how your upbringing and emotional baggage influence how you deal with difficult situations today;

  • Guidance in how to think when you want to set your mind to “self-soothing mode”;

  • Tools that you can use if you want to train your ability for self-compassion.

Today’s exercise

What is it that characterizes those really secure people? The ones who always treat themselves and others with consideration and calm, no matter what. It could be a coworker who can deal with criticism without feeling put down or a friend who throws himself or herself on the dance floor or goes on dates without fearing rejection. Someone who shows up unprepared and gives a no-more-than-passable presentation without ruminating over it later. 

Think about someone in your life, or a public figure, who stands out in this regard. Keep this person in mind throughout the course. 

For example: “A friend of mine comes to mind – someone who has never been afraid of taking risks. She has ended relationships once they have gone stale. Changed jobs when she has felt like taking on a new challenge, even if that has meant less security and less money. She rarely complains about her performance when we work out together”. 

Advanced level: Call this person and ask how they are doing. Explain that you perceive him or her as particularly secure, and ask what their secret is. Who knows, perhaps they can offer some concrete advice. Either way, you have paid them a compliment!