Applying PeRL to Self-Compassion

Friendship with one's self is all important, because without it, one cannot be friends with anyone else in the world.”
- Eleanor Roosevelt

“Radical self-care is what we've been longing for, desperate for, our entire lives—friendship with our own hearts.”
- Anne Lamott

Here's an activity that supports you in shifting from self-blame and judgment to self-love and appreciation.

I'm presenting it as a collage activity, but you can do it as a writing activity, sculpture, singing, poetry, or any medium that appeals to you.

Focus of the Activity:

To become more aware of ways in which you were treated as a child and ways in which you would like to treat yourself.

Background Assumptions:

  1. How you were treated as a child affects how you treat yourself internally now.
  2. Getting clear about how you would like to treat yourself primes your brain for possible change and sets a path forward that your brain can and will follow, given the chance and support.

Materials Needed:

  1. Gather several different kinds of magazines so you have a lot of images and words to choose from.
  2. Find a cardboard box (or make something) that is at least 12 x 12 x 12. It need not be square. It could be long, round, or make something that appeals to you.
  3. A glue stick or glue.

Directions:

  1. The outside of the box will represent ways in which you have been treated during your lifetime, both positive and negative. Include on a panel or a part of a panel ways in which you would like to be treated that you may or may not have experienced in your life.
  2. The inside of your box will represent ways in which you treat yourself. Have at least one panel or part of a panel reflect the worst ways in which you have treated yourself. Let another panel or part of a panel reflect ways in which you are just starting to treat yourself or that you want to develop inside yourself.
  3. Without knowing where you are going to put the images or words on your box, start ripping out images, words, and phrases and making a pile.
  4. Look for and rip out images, words, and phrases that reflect how you were treated as a child or how you have seen others treat children. Make sure you include all kinds of images without censoring any.
  5. Look for and rip out images, words, and phrases that reflect how you would like to treat yourself. These could be ways in which you are already treating yourself or ways that you wish you could treat yourself. Do not censor at all. Simply gather the images, words, and phrases.
  6. When you feel as if you have enough images, words, and phrases, begin to find where they belong on your box. Without forcing anything, look at an image, word, or phrase and allow the placement of it to emerge.
  7. Complete your box by adding anything that appeals to you in the way of mementos, ribbon, fabric, etc. that gives you a sense of completion.
  8. Find a trusted family member, friend, or colleague who will sit with you while you describe your box. Make sure you tell all the “stories” that are behind the images, words, and phrases.
  9. Put your box someplace where you can see it and use it as a way to become the images, words, and phrases that you aspire to.
  10. If you are willing, take photos of the box and send it to me. I would love to see your creations.

Enjoy the process and the amazing shift from self-criticism to self-love. It is the only game worth playing. :-)

Sign up for PeRLs of Wisdom

Our newsletter, PeRLs of Wisdom, will be emailed to you with resources related to the monthly topic such as additional activities, practices, discussions, quotes, and announcements of upcoming programs. You can unsubscribe from PeRLs of Wisdom at any time.