In this lesson, we are going to talk about how to touch your tender heart. This might sound touchy-feely and it is.
This transformative practice is something we do not allow ourselves to do very often. We have talked about the pain we feel and we talked about how to practice self-compassion towards that pain.
Sometimes we have feelings of not being enough. Any time we are feeling this, it causes a pain in ourselves.
- feeling we are not good enough
- feeling we are inadequate in some way
- that we are unworthy of love
- feelings of guilt that we cannot do it all
- feelings of anxiety that we are not enough to face the tasks we need to face
- anxiety that we are not good enough for other people
- self blame
The practice is to drop away from these thoughts of ourselves into the actual body. For me, I often feel this pain somewhere in my chest. It can feel like a real strong pain or a tightness. If you notice a feeling about yourself, ask yourself where in the body it is.
- Think about whatever it is you think you are doing wrong. How does that feel in your body? Maybe you procrastinated, didn’t do a good job, went to old bad habits, failed at a project or at creating new habits, are drinking too much, eating too much, smoking too much, watching porn too much.
- Notice where in your body you feel some sensation. Whatever you are feeling, whether intense or light, you will feel some sensation in your body.
- Feel your tender heart underneath that pain. Notice whatever pain or difficulty you are feeling, underneath that difficult feeling is a tender heart. See if you can feel that tenderness underneath your pain right now. Think of your unworthiness, inadequacy, failures, how you keep blaming yourself and are harsh on yourself. See how that feels in your chest. Underneath that, see if there is a tenderness you can notice. To me it feels like a tender, vulnerable heart. Much like a child that is afraid of being hurt and of not being loved. This is your tender heart. You may not be able to access this now, but with your self-compassion sessions, practice compassion, but also practice just staying with whatever difficulties you are feeling. Even if you are feeling regret for not doing the practice, stop and notice that difficult feeling in your body.
- Notice these feelings. How does it feel in your chest? What sensations do you notice? Maybe there is a tightness. Under that, see if you can feel a tenderness. Your tender heart is going through some kind of difficulty, just wants to be loved, just wants peace, and just wants to be happy.
That tenderness is always there. Sometimes when we are at peace it can be resting or at ease. A lot of times during the day, we are worried, anxious, stressed out, frustrated, or angry. That is the tender heart not wanting uncertainty and not wanting discomfort. It does not want to fail and is not wanting to be unloved. It feels anxiety and pain when we have uncertainty. It’s a feeling that we do not belong. When someone is mad at us, we can feel that hurt and want to shut down. The tenderness wants to protect itself.
What I am asking you to do is to access that tenderness. Whether it be now or any time during the day, or during your self-compassion sessions, access your tenderness. Try and see if you can notice your tender heart. It is always there and does not want to be hurt.
This tender heart can withstand a lot more than we give it credit for. This tender heart can be a place we can access through our pain. Any difficult feeling or uncertainty we are having whether it be grief, loss, or heartbreak is a way to tap into and access your tender heart. Any moment you can do this through out the day, so practice.
Where do you feel sensation in your body? How does your chest feel? What sensations do you notice? Can you access your tender heart? Share your experiences in Slack.