Mindfulness: the key is to be kind to yourself

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You don’t have to be “cruel to be kind.” photo by mark l chaves

When you say, “Remember to be mindful. The key is to be kind to yourself.” what does it mean? I often forget to be mindful during daily routines.

Let’s answer this question by taking the following scenario:

You wake-up one morning and decide to practice mindfulness for 2-minutes while waiting for the toaster to finish with your two slices of bread. You decide to direct your focus only on the ticking sound of the toaster as it counts down. Then your mind wanders away by thinking about how hungry you are. You say to yourself, “This toaster is taking forever. I’m soooo hungry.” At that instant, you realize that 30 seconds into your 2-minute practice you have failed to keep your focus. I.e. you momentarily forgot to be mindful.

You have two main choices at this point 1) mentally beat yourself up by saying that you are a loser and mindfulness is for losers, or 2) you can say, “Hey I caught myself wandering! Isn’t that great? This mindfulness thing really works. I’m going to try it again to see if I can go longer than 30 seconds.” The latter option (#2) is what I meant by saying, “remember to be mindful, and the key is to be kind to yourself as you practice.”

Notes:

  1. Photograph taken on location in Jakarta, Indonesia on a vintage Canon FT/QL 55mm using expired Fujifilm Superia 200.
  2. “Cruel to be kind” lyrics by Nick Lowe.
  3. Original article posted to Quora.com by mark l chaves.

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