Martha Beck Teaches Erin About Self-Compassion
With Martha's help, Erin changes the way she thinks about her son's death. "His soul was inside my body for a reason, to bless me and to teach me something," Erin says. "And if all I carry away the rest of my life is I associate his memory and his life with the greatest pain I ever suffered, I think that that's doing him a great injustice, and he wouldn't want that for me."
Martha teaches Erin the difference between falling into self-pity and showing sympathy to oneself. "The idea of having self-compassion was something that I had not thought of, and that really struck me really hard that I have lost compassion for myself, and I desperately want to and need to get it back," Erin says.
To understand how to feel self-compassion, Martha suggests a visualization exercise. "Imagine a time when you're caring for a child or an elderly parent or a dear friend who's ill or heartbroken, who is just not doing well, and you put them to bed at night, you let them rest," Martha says. "And you go in, and you watch your children sleep, just hoping they'll heal, right? And when you feel all the compassion you can, imagine that the person rolls over in bed, and it's you."
Martha says this exercise can help you direct all the empathy and concern you would feel for another person toward yourself. "If you can stay [in that moment], the possibilities for your life are endless. That's where it all starts," Martha says.