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“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others.
You need to accept yourself.”

–Thich Nhat Hanh

Most of us are so kind to others and yet the sound track in our own minds is so mean. Being as compassionate to ourselves as we are to others will continue to rewire a new way of responding to our world. In order to maintain choice in our life, it’s important to consider practicing self-compassion. And it might sound something like this:

  • My feelings are normal and valid. Something has happened and my body is responding.
  • My reaction to my life may be different than others and that’s okay. We’re all different people living different lives.
  • I can learn to voice my feelings.
  • I can learn to create and practice healthy boundaries to live my life authentically and on my own terms.

Does this sound like something you might say to your daughter, sister, friend, or coworker? Let’s break it down so you might practice speaking this way to yourself:

Step 1: Perhaps you might affirm that “My feelings are valid.
Feelings happen – we don’t choose them. So if you are feeling angry, sad, afraid, or happy then maybe there’s a valid reason. Something has happened and your body is responding to it. It’s biology like Bessel van der Kolk says, “The Body Keeps the Score”. You are human and you’re allowed to be mad, sad, afraid or happy.
Step 2: Maybe you might affirm that “My perception of my life matters.”
Other’s perception of their lives matter, too. Denying my feelings because I may be feeling differently than others may not be practicing self-compassion. Like Carl Jung said, “What I resist, persists.” Maybe I might consider that I can have my feelings and others can have their feelings knowing that each of us are living different lives as different people with different life histories. 
Step 3: When you’re ready, you might affirm that “I can learn to voice my feelings.
So you might scan the environment or relationship for red flags that signal danger and perhaps seek support from a loved one to figure out how to navigate out of that situation, safely. If you are around others who offer a safe container for you to speak, know that you can voice your feelings knowing that your feelings are valid and may be different from others and that’s okay. 
Step 4: In your own time, you might affirm that “I can learn to create and communicate healthy boundaries.
If you repeat the practices in this toolkit, you might be able to claim your body and perhaps notice feelings and sensations in the present moment to inform your choices so you can take effective action in your life. Perhaps it might be helpful to remember that this is your life and whatever you decide you prefer about any aspect within your life is your choice – not others. Surrounding yourself with others who respect this boundary might support living a healthy life, authentically and on your own terms.  
Rome wasn’t built in a day nor is a new way of responding to your world. It might help to remind yourself of these mantras in a memorable way each day, like leaving post-it notes for yourself, writing poetry, drawing, adding the statements to your phone, or record an audio speaking to yourself.
We would love to hear from you! If you’re interested, you might share how this podcast has helped you or perhaps you might share any questions or topics you might like to have answered in a podcast. Feel free to email me, Julie Long, Founder and Counsellor, at

This podcast episode is inspired by “Self Compassion” by Kristin Neff, Where to Draw the Line: How to set Healthy Boundaries Every Day” by Anne Katherine, and (2009).