My Self-Compassion Statement

“Self-Compassion is approaching ourselves, our inner experience with spaciousness, with the quality of allowing which has a quality of gentleness. Instead of our usual tendency to want to get over something, to fix it, to make it go away, the path of compassion is totally different. Compassion allows.” – Robert Gonzales

Last July, I attended the IOCDF Conference – an annual gathering of people whose lives have been affected by OCD. I have followed the IOCDF online for some time, and when I saw their conference would be held in Washington, DC (my current home city!), I knew I had to take the plunge and attend.

I also lucked out by receiving a volunteer opportunity at the conference check-in station. In exchange for volunteering during one four-hour shift, I received a full waiver of the conference registration fee. This was an awesome opportunity, not only for the discount offered, but also for the chance to greet and converse with many of the individuals attending this conference, including some pioneering OCD therapists whose blogs and resources I follow online.

Volunteering was a minor sacrifice compared to all I received at this conference over the next four days. In addition to attending memorable workshops like How Do I Stop Thinking About This? – How to Stop Playing Mental Ping Pong,” and Moral Scrupulosity OCD – A Workshop for Terrible People,” I had the chance to learn from and share with others like me from all over the U.S. and the world.

I learned that for all the discomfort and suffering that OCD brings, this disorder is really an invitation to move beyond our own small worlds so that we may connect with others. Some truly inspiring people shared their stories with me, and I have held them in my heart ever since last summer. I know they have held me too.

I also attended a powerful session on self-compassion, led by two skilled therapists from Mindset Family Therapy in Utah. Their workshop provided a chance to step back from the conference buzz and reconnect with ourselves. We began with a breathing exercise, and then moved to taking a pretend “body scan” and relaxing our muscles from the neck down to our feet. Then, we slowly peeled open clementine oranges and smelled and tasted them, an exercise reminding ourselves of our physical senses and their ability to root us in the present. Finally, after encouragement and personal sharing from our leaders, we wrote down individual self-compassion statements. This one is mine. I wrote it to be read slowly, pausing after each line, in the rhythm of one breathing in and out:

My Self-Compassion Statement

I breathe in gratititude for my life and my abilities. 

I breathe out love for myself and all men and women.

In between my breaths, I notice the OCD thoughts and all the burden-feelings they bring. 

In between my breaths, I grant myself permission to grieve, to cry, and to feel the great fear. 

In between my breaths, I grant myself freedom, once more, to experience joy and creativity.

I breathe in gratitude for my numerous blessings. 

I breathe out love for myself and all men and women. 

I breathe in gratitude. I breathe out love.

I breathe the wind of the Holy Spirit.

Thank you for reading! While my statement says “OCD” in line three, I think that word could be replaced by anything else, like “anxiety,” “fear,” or whatever comes to mind.

-M.C.

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