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Radikal Self-Compassion

21. July 2021
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Books reviewedTara Brach: Radical Self-Compassion. Learning to Love Yourself and Your World with the Practice of RAIN. Penguiun. Random House 2019.
Christopher K. Germer: the mindful path to self-compassion. Freeing Yourself from Destructive Thoughts and Emotions. The Guilford Press 2009.

How can we heal old wounds? Free ourselves from the inner critic who constantly nags at us? Overcome the feeling of being unworthy or unlovable? For Tara Brach and Christ Germer, the answer is self-compassion - something that many people in a performance-oriented and self-optimizing society have forgotten or never even heard about.

American meditation teacher and psychologist Tara Brach has developed an exercise based on mindfulness and self-compassion. In her book "Radical Compassion“ she describes the four steps of the RAIN technique. It helps you to recognise unpleasant feelings, allow them to be there, investigate what the most vulnerable part in you needs and nourishing it. If you feel you need help from a spiritual teacher, a deity, a benefactor or even your pet, you can also bring that in.

Self-care in everyday life

We often recommend this book to our patients because it shows them how to take good care of themselves. It teaches them to become more and more sensitive to unpleasant fellings and helps them, when they are feeling stuck. On an everyday basis they can practise not to run away from anxiety, fear, anger and grief, but to allow them fully to be there. And then to investigate what that wpunded part needs to heal.

Psychologist Chris Germer takes a similar approach, drawing on the Buddhist practice of "metta meditation" (loving kindness). Here, too, mindfulness of one's own and others' emotions is the first step toward healing. The method helps to develop self-compassion and explains, why it is not egoistic to attend to your own feelings. Starting from this, it becomes easier to heal relationships with close people. Later, "neutral" and „difficult“ people are also included.

Chris Germer belongs to the circle of scientists around brain researcher Richard Davidson. The latter studies the effect of meditation practices on the brain and the psyche. Germer's book approaches the subject of self-compassion from a more scientific point of view. He includes study results in information boxes. The book is lightened up with cartoons.

Links:

Guided meditations by Chris Germer (englisch): https://chrisgermer.com/meditations/

Guided RAIN-meditations by Tara Brach (englisch): https://www.tarabrach.com/rain/

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