Pioneers in mindful self-compassion bring their special magic to Brighton

The founders of the mindful self-compassion programme, Kristin Neff and Chris  Germer, ran a hugely successful and very nourishing two-day wokshop in Brighton, earlier this month. The workshop was supported by mindful self-compassion teachers and mentors from around the UK. Over 100 participants, including people who travelled from beyond the UK, joined the special event. Postponed twice, because of the pandemic, this was the Sussex Mindfulness Centre’s first in-person event in over two years. 

The workshop included an engaging range of teaching, discussion and practice. We posted on Twitter throughout the two days and share some of the nuggets here. 
Chris Germer started the day with a short practice that included the three core components of mindful self-compassion: mindfulness, common humanity and self-kindness. 

“It’s important when you do self-compassion practice not to set out to improve yourself or make yourself feel better”, suggested Germer. “So, for the two-day workshop let’s observe a complete moratorium on fixing yourself.” 

Research shows that self-compassion is good for our mental health and wellbeing, and also that we are more likely to be compassionate to a friend, than we are to ourselves. The problem is “we are not so kind to ourselves,” explained Neff. “Given this, perhaps don’t ‘do unto others what you would have them do to you’.” 

“The number one block to self-compassion is the idea that you will be less successful and will lower your goals,” explained Neff. “In fact, people who practice self-compassion are as successful and are less fearful of failure”. 

Germer got to the nub of the issue when he said: “The quintessential self-compassion question is ‘What do I need right now’?”

The last part of the workshop focused on three things that can help make the most of life: 1) savouring everyday experiences that we might normally take for granted, like a meal, 2) gratitude, especially for seemingly inconsequential things, 3) self-appreciation, learning to value our positive qualities.