Self-Compassion Practices to Deepen Your Resilience

We’re Not Ready for This Kind of Grief

According to my mother, there are two unique forms of grief that everyone touched by war understands. There’s the grief associated with the loss of human life—through bombings and brutal combat, and through the disease that runs rampant when health care and all other social services are halted. Then there’s the grief associated with the loss of a life as we once knew it: loss of country, loss of employment, loss of identity as a “prewar person,” and the subsequent need to start over. The two run along together like two dark snakes intertwined…


Self-Compassion Practices to Deepen Your Resilience

Explore Self-Compassion as an Ongoing Way of Being Image credit: franz12/Adobe Stock

We all know the saying: Do you tend to see the glass half-empty, or half-full? Evolutionarily speaking, it’s probably half empty. We are much more likely to notice, react to, and remember unpleasant, distressful, negative experiences than pleasant, soothing, positive ones. Our brain has this negativity bias hard-wired in to ensure our survival, as individuals and as a species. Early in human history, those who were more attuned to danger and who paid more attention to potential threats were more likely to survive. (In today’s circumstances, we might say that those who take the most rigorous precautions are likely to be safer from the coronavirus than those who underestimate its danger.)

So, in many ways, the negativity bias makes sense for survival. But to be resilient, to respond to distressing events in a positive, flexible, effective way, to discern the options we have and take wise action, we also need to be able to shift the brain out of negativity, reactivity, and contraction, toward receptivity and openness to the big picture….

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