Richard Hanson was saying “We are Velcro for bad experiences and Teflon for good ones.” How true is that! We focus on bad experiences, failures, disappointments, mistakes for hours, days, weeks or even longer. Yet, how often do we savor and celebrate good experiences, successes or achievements? How often do we give ourselves time to appreciate all those wonderful moments instead of taking them for granted and moving on to the next thing that needs to be “fixed”?
Self-compassion is not teaching us only how to deal with challenging emotions, but also how to savor the positive ones. And what a better moment can we find to correct the negativity bias than the end of the year? We can offer ourselves the time to reflect upon what we experienced in the last 12 months and we can spend some time on savoring the “good” moments instead of worrying or blaming ourselves about the less good ones.
I propose you three self-compassionate practices for cultivating joy during these last weeks of 2023, and hopefully you take them with you and make them a habit for the years to come.
- Savoring – recognize the beauty, the good, the pleasant and savor it. Use all your senses. Enjoy the lights, the colors, the smells, the textures, the music, the tone of voice of a dear one, the breeze, the company of others, the solitude. Savor all you have right now in your life, without thinking of the future or the past, but being fully present with what is right here, right now. Let yourself wrapped into a warm blanket of pleasure. The pleasure of a warm cup of coffee, of a touch, of a conversation. No matter what it is, savor it!
- Gratitude – spend some time to express your gratitude for what you have, what you experience, what you are offered, what you can offer, what you are learning and anything else you might think of, small or big. Don’t take anything for granted. And don’t be shy to express your gratitude out loud, or to send some gratitude notes. I remember a few years back, a friend of mine made a gratitude Christmas tree. All they had in the tree were gratitude notes. So, be creative and express your gratitude in any way it’s meaningful to you.
- Self-appreciation – When you express gratitude, it’s important to express gratitude to yourself as well. To appreciate yourself not only for your successes and achievements but also for maybe not giving up in tough times, for standing up for yourself, for being more self-compassionate, for helping a friend, for being brave even when you felt it didn’t look like you were brave. You deserve your own appreciation!
May these self-compassion practices bring you light and ease in your life! May you savor each of them and make them part of your daily life! May you fully feel the joy of being alive.
If you want to learn more about how to cultivate joy and savor life, you are welcome to join us for the Mindful Self-Compassion journey
that Jim and I will facilitate starting with January 8th. It might be one of the best gifts you can make yourself. Feel free to share with others as well. It might be one of the best gifts you can make them.
Have a wonderful end of 2023 and a joyful 2024!