Matthew Cohen, MSW

Matthew Cohen, MSW

Social Justice Solutions | Staff Writer
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Training In Compassion or The Art Of Not Being A Jerk To Thyself

Lately, quite by accident I think, SJS writers have been writing about apathy, empathy and compassion. One interesting thread has come about during those discussion. Is it possible to train in compassion? Lo and behind, I come a across an article from about this very topic. The universe is indeed kind.

The basic premise of the article is that a child learns to entreat with themselves in the way that they are taught to by their parents. If they are taught mistakes are intolerable, that perfection is possible, and most importantly, that being self-critical is beneficial, a child will grow up being their own worst enemy. On the other hand, if a parent teaches a child to remain confident and composed  even when there are mistakes, and that ones self-esteem should not be derived some some impossible idea of perfection, than the internal dialogue of that child will develop into something more soothing and healthy.

There are some clever methods for developing compassion in the article. My favorite is writing down your negative internal dialogue and looking at it from a neutral perspective later on.

‘I have had clients come back after one week of listening to their critical voice and exclaim to me, I would never talk to my greatest enemy that way or I realized that I was telling myself the same things my dad used to say to me and I hated him for it.’

My intuition tells me that many people will read that sentence and relate to it. The article goes into detail on other methods. It starts out with a quote that basically says that we are distanced from compassion by self-created barriers that keep us from what is most natural. The information should be useful for helping professionals and those who could use a bit of help.

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