Self-Care Guide: Developing Self-Compassion, Gratitude & Authenticity | Mallory Whitfield | Skillshare

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Self-Care Guide: Developing Self-Compassion, Gratitude & Authenticity

teacher avatar Mallory Whitfield, Artist / Speaker / Digital Marketer

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

10 Lessons (53m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. What is impostor syndrome?

    • 3. What is self compassion & why is it important?

    • 4. The three components of self compassion

    • 5. How can you practice self-kindness?

    • 6. Recognizing our common humanity

    • 7. Mindfulness

    • 8. The power of gratitude

    • 9. The strength of curiosity

    • 10. Questions to ask yourself

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About This Class

Taking care of yourself, both physically and emotionally, is more important than ever. Learn how to practice self-care and battle impostor phenomenon by cultivating gratitude, curiosity, and self-compassion. In this class, you'll learn how fully embracing our authentic selves can make us happier and more productive entrepreneurs & creatives in a technology-driven world.

In this class, we’ll cover:

  • impostor syndrome & what it is
  • self-compassion - what it is, why it’s important & how to practice it
  • how to use gratitude & curiosity to connect more deeply with your authentic self and be kinder to yourself
  • we’ll finish with a project that involves some reflective questions to ask yourself — you’ll make yourself a cheat sheet that you can refer back to when you’re feeling down


Meet Your Teacher

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Mallory Whitfield

Artist / Speaker / Digital Marketer


I'm a New Orleans-based public speaker, artist, performer, and writer, with more than 15 years of experience as an entrepreneur and digital marketer.

I'm on a mission to build a movement - #TowardsTogether - that will change the way people think about diversity and inclusion. In July 2019, I premiered my one-person show, Towards Together: A Vision for a Kinder, More Inclusive World, which offers a sequin-filled, entertaining perspective on how we can use curiosity, compassion, authenticity, and allyship to create a world with less bullying, less violence, and more kindness. Here's a peek:

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1. Introduction: have you ever felt not good enough like a fraud? Phony imposter, Inadequate. A lot of really smart, extremely competent people feel this way, and there's a name for it. It's called the Imposter Syndrome, or the impostor phenomenon. Hi, my name is Mallory Whitfield, and I definitely felt this way. I have been a creative all my life, and I have often struggled with feelings of imposter, feeling like a fraud, feeling like I try to be a perfectionist and fell short. Slowly but surely, I've learned tools like self compassion, gratitude, curiosity that have helped me uncover my authentic self ways that I could practice self compassion and be kinder and gentler to myself. In this class, you'll learn how to battle imposter syndrome, especially if you identify as a creative and how using tools like gratitude and self compassion can help you be happier, kinder to yourself, in a world ruled by technology where were all dealing with so many things? Often, feelings of anxiety in this class will cover imposter syndrome, what it is and ways to deal with it. We'll talk about self compassion, what it is, why it's important and how to practice it I'll share how to use gratitude and curiosity to connect more deeply with your authentic self and how to be kinder and gentler to yourself. We'll finish with a project where I'll guide you through some self reflective questions to ask yourself, and you'll come out of it with a cheat sheet that you can use to refer back to again and again. Whenever you're feeling down, I'll be your instructor for this class. I'm Mallory, a self identified creative entrepreneur. I've done a lot of things over the years. I started out doing craft shows, an art market selling my own, one of a kind up cycled clothing creations. I did craft shows for many years, sold online doing e commerce and then taught myself the basics of marketing and digital marketing, like Social media search engine optimization through the course of doing all of that, and have worked in marketing full time for the last five years or so. I am also a professional speaker, and in addition to speaking on marketing topics like social media search engine optimization, I also in the summer of 2019 wrote my own one person show, which was originally called Embrace your weird and it's been rebranded as towards together . So it's all about the ways that we can move past judgment, move past things like imposter syndrome and perfectionism so that we could not only be more kind and compassionate to ourselves, but be more kind and compassionate towards other people because it's really it's It's a cycle. It's back and forth. As we become more compassionate to ourselves. We can also be more compassionate towards others and vice versa. So I'm excited that you'll be joining me on this journey on Let's get started. 2. What is impostor syndrome?: what is Imposter syndrome? So imposter syndrome or imposter phenomenon fraud syndrome? There's a lot of different names for it. This phenomenon was originally described by two psychologists in the late 19 seventies. The initial research show that this was more common amongst women or certain minority groups, although as the body of research around this has grown over the years, it's shown that it's not exclusive to just women are exclusive to any particular gender or group of people. Imposter phenomenon often does occur amongst high achievers. So people like me who grew up making good grades throughout school, people who were very accomplished, like a lot of doctors and artists and lawyers and successful people struggle with and deal with imposter syndrome and feelings of being a fraud. Feelings of being an imposter. There's a really great episode of the podcast, the hilarious world of depression. The episode is from 2018 and they have a lot of call in listeners who you'll listen and you'll hear all of these doctors and all of these very accomplished people sharing their own internal struggle with imposter feelings. Many people who deal with imposter syndrome are also perfectionist. I know this is definitely the case for me. I have often struggled with tendencies to want to be perfect tendencies, to be a perfectionist. This is something that learning self compassion, learning gratitude has helped me shift passed somewhat, although it's never going to go away entirely. 3. What is self compassion & why is it important?: what is self compassion and why is it important? Self compassion is this concept of offering ourselves compassion and kindness in the same way that we might be compassionate towards other people or empathetic towards other people . I was first introduced to this concept of self compassion via a book by the very same name , So self compassion, the proven power of being kind to yourself. This book is written by Dr Kristin Neff's Who's a psychologist who's done probably the most research of anybody on this particular topic. I first discovered this book via the audio version of the book, and I've read it. Listen to it a couple of times now. I discovered the audio version of this book during a period of personal pain and healing and growth. In the summer of 2018 I had a situation where my whole life felt like it had fallen apart. I had just ended a 15 year relationship right around the same time my full time salaried job as a director of marketing had suddenly become a part time contract physician, and my elderly dog died, and all three of these things happen within the course of a few weeks. So suddenly I was having to figure out how toe work from home and pay my bills. With half of my previous income, I was having to learn how toe deal with essentially a divorce, and my partner and I weren't legally married. But it was as if we had gone through that sort of a break up and I was learning to live alone and work from home. So is by myself a whole lot because my partner and I have been together for so long. A lot of my friendships were shifting and were different. I was figuring all of that out and I didn't have a dog. I didn't have a companion animal to get me through this because my dog also passed away. So I was dealing with a lot of different things all at once. And so I discovered the audio version of self compassion, and I listen to it as I was starting to create a ritual for myself. I live in New Orleans, Louisiana, very close to City Park, which is an amazing a park filled with these ancient oak trees, and so I would go on walks over there and I would listen to this audio book as I was walking and Kristin Neff's self compassion and learning. Some of these tools got me through such a rough time, and it's become a system of tools and a way of looking at myself, looking at my experience, looking at life and looking at other people. That's helped me be more self compassion and help me get through some really tough times. And especially now I'm recording this in April of 2020. Eso if you're far the future. Looking back on this, this is the moment when we are deep in the time of the Cove in 19 Pandemic. And so things are changing. We're all dealing with a lot of trauma and grief and heavy things and learning to shift and adapt. And we don't have access to some of the coping mechanisms that we might. We can't physically go in touch and hug friends and family in the way that we might have before. So learning tools like self compassion are more important now than ever. One of the things that Dr Kristin F talks about in self compassion a lot is the difference between South compassion versus self esteem. So this really resonated with me because as a kid I felt like I was a high achiever. I made good grades in school. I excelled at a lot of the things that I did. I did theatre and ballroom dance, and it was picked up things pretty easily. And so I felt like I had a lot of self esteem growing up. But what they found in this research that Dr Neff and her team have done is that self compassion is actually much more powerful than self esteem, not Onley with how we relate to ourselves, but also with how we relate to other people. The thing with self esteem is it's often very surface level, and a lot of times people can act as if they have self esteem. But they may actually have a lot of internal self doubt, internal self hatred or uncertainty, insecurity, for example. Bullies often seem as if they have high self esteem, but if you really think about it, most bullies are very insecure. That's why they act like bullies in the first place because people that really have a lot of self compassion and self love don't feel the need to act out and bully other people. And that's the thing about compassion, both self compassion towards ourselves and compassion towards others. The thing about compassion versus something like self esteem or a big ego is that compassion goes both ways. So as we learn to be more self compassionate, we also start to be more compassionate towards other people. That's what Dr Kristin F. And the other researchers have found in the actual data, and the research is that when we be more self compassionate, we could be more compassionate or empathetic towards others, and it also works in the reverse. So if we have trouble being self compassionate at first, like at the beginning to be self compassion, it was very hard for me. But it was easier for me to try to find compassion towards other people that I cared about . But that's the other thing that they found is that as we are more compassionate towards others, it can also help us unlock more compassion towards ourselves. 4. The three components of self compassion: the three components of self compassion. Dr Kristen Neff has identified three main components of this idea. Self compassion. The three components are self kindness, recognition of our common humanity and mindfulness. So self kindness is exactly what it sounds like. It's finding tools and practices and rituals to be kinder and gentler towards ourselves. And some of that can be the mental component, the way that we talk to ourselves, the way that we communicate with ourselves and about ourselves. And some of that can be more physical. It could be things like creating rituals of walking or exercise or gentle self touch, hugging yourself, taking baths, things like that that have a very visceral, sensory physical component to them, recognition of our common humanity. So this part of self compassion is this idea that we're not alone. All of the things that we feel somebody else, if not most other people are also feeling or have felt that same thing at some point. This idea that if we suffer from imposter syndrome and posture complex, there's lots of other people who are freaking amazing at what they do who have also dealt with these same things. We are not alone as humans, we all struggle with certain feelings and emotions as well as wants and needs and this part of recognizing our common humanity. This is another reason why practicing self compassion is also so valuable in regards to how we can learn to be more compassionate towards others more empathetic towards other people who are different than us. And the third part is mindfulness. So mindfulness has become a bigger hot topic, more broadly mentioned in popular culture. Popular conversation in the last few years. But it's that idea of intentionality of becoming more mindful of What are we meeting? What are we feeling? What are we experiencing? What are we doing to ourselves? What are we telling ourselves and just checking in instead of going with the flow? Um not recognizing what's happening internally inside of us or recognizing the deeper needs or wants of other people around us as well 5. How can you practice self-kindness?: How could you show compassion to yourself? Let's start with the first component of self compassion, which is self kindness. So one way that we can practice self kindness is through the ways that we communicate with ourselves the ways that we talk to ourselves. I know that for me, this was often a big struggle of mine. I used to beat myself up a lot, and I still do occasionally. It's still something that I have to be mindful of and catch myself and reconfigure, reinterpret the ways that I talked to myself but growing up and for a lot of my life, if something went wrong, the first place my mind would go would be to call myself stupid. So I am very intellectually centered. I like to think I like to learn. I like to teach. And so because of all of that, if if anything went wrong in my life, whether it was in a relationship or whether I actually made a mistake at work or in school or something like that, I took on the blame towards myself. I would call myself stupid. I would be like Mallory, You're so stupid. Why didn't you think of that. Like, why don't you prevent that mistake from happening? How could you do this? This was so done. This was so stupid. A. I would talk to myself in a way that I would never talk to somebody else. Like, I would never speak to a close friend or family member or loved one in the way that I talked to myself. And a lot of us do that right. A lot of us will speak to ourselves so much more harshly than we would ever speak to anybody else that's messed up so messed up. So the self kindness component is really about starting to reframe and rewire the way that we talk to ourselves. So one exercise that you could dio is to write a letter to yourself as a small child. All right, we're often a lot gentler and kinder with Children than we are with ourselves or than we are with adults. Sometimes, so think about yourself as a small child, maybe five years old or seven years older, 10 years old, And whatever it is that you're going through, whatever it is that you're experiencing, that is harder painful right now. You could either write it out in a journal. I love the practice of actually using pen and paper to write stuff like this. But if you prefer to type or if you just want to talk it out to yourself, you could do that, too. I as a writer and a teacher, I sometimes love to use the voice recording app on my phone to do it that way. There's some great tools that will transcribe voice recordings to text if you want to document that for later. But however you choose to do it right or record a letter to yourself as a small child, what do you wish that you could tell that younger version of yourself? And how would you speak to that younger version of your self? Thinking of this younger version of you can help you to reframe and shift the ways that you talk to yourself. Now you could also think of yourself as a friend of yours, right? If if maybe for some reason thinking of yourself a small child doesn't work for you, maybe you could create an alter ego version of yourself that is a close friend or someone that you love and care about. And when you find yourself starting to use some of that negative self talk and speaking very harshly to yourself, try to practice mindfulness and catch yourself and talk to yourself how you would to that close friend. So hey, Mallory, uh, you're not stupid. You are experiencing something that was really hard, really painful for anybody. Um, and you responded to it and cried, and that's okay. A lot of people would cry in that situation. So there's an example of how you might reframe and shift and kind of step back from yourself and talk to yourself in the way that you would talk to somebody else instead of how you might be talking to yourself in a more harsh or negative way. Right now, another way to practice self kindness is to create rituals of kindness for yourself. They mentioned earlier one of the rituals that I started creating for myself when I was going through this period of healing and post break up post my whole life, sort of getting up in did is I would start going for walks and walking is really incredible . There's a lot of science and data to back this up. I like to go for runs to, but walks are great in a different way, especially if you have access to nature or the outdoors. You know, getting vitamin D from sunlight, getting some fresh air, especially if you could be around trees or plants or something like that. There are so many health benefits, both physical and mental from that. But I created these rituals of going for a walk. I would sometimes listen to an audiobook or something like that. Sometimes listen to music, sometimes a walking meditation download, Um, and sometimes just nothing. Sometimes I just needed to be with just myself and just my thoughts to process things. Be sure to use that, the kind talk if you're gonna process things and get inside of your head. Some other rituals that I started to practice for myself is doing more yoga regularly. I for many, many years, resisted yoga until around this time that I started going through this break up and shift in my life. I originally started practicing yoga for the physical benefits. I was sitting a lot in my desk chair at my computer, working all the time and so my back was feeling like, you know, crunchy and didn't feel very good, so I started doing yoga at home. Even now, most of my yoga practice has been just at home with a yoga mat with different free services . Things like yoga with Adrian is a really great YouTube channel. Totally Frito Watch. You just gotta watch the YouTube ads or whatever. But yoga with Adrian is one of my favorite free resource is for yoga. If you don't already have a yoga practice or stretching practice, even UM and then baths again. I was also like, I don't really see the point Bad, like I took my shot were like, That's only need. But I have gotten into the habit of taking baths more occasionally, using Epsom salts and essential oils and things like that to kind of create a ritual of relax ation and self kind of self care. Being in that warm water with Epsom salt, with the sense I'll often turn the lights off in the bathroom and light a candle instead and then put on some like meditation, relaxation music on Spotify on my phone and just be there. Just relax and chill out in kind of the they didn't dimly lit darkness, which is the candle going. And that is a ritual that I've created for myself, to be kind and gentle to myself, to practice what I preach. Another act of self kindness that doctor never talks about in her book and that I've learned to practice for myself is self touch. And I'm not talking about the liar. You know, we'll know what kind of self touch, but like that's fine, too. I haven't totally other great purpose, but I mean self touch, like hugging yourself Or, you know, like massaging your hand or your wrist, for example, those kind of self touch practices. So there's a There's a famous study, and Dr Enough talks about this in her book. You maybe have heard about this study where they tested on baby monkeys. So they had a baby monkey who was around its mom and could be touched by its mommy monkey. And then they had a baby monkey who they gave a like a metal mommy dio like a fake, not riel, not even soft. And that monkey did not do well like human beings and animals to us when they did the experiment of monkeys. But we need physical touch like we're wired to need, touched and in certain situations, like when I was going through living on my own, working from home, being more isolated and on my own. I didn't have access to my ex partner anymore, right? I didn't have somebody that I could snuggle in bed with or cuddle on the couch with. And so I had to learn to be that resource for myself more often. And here we are now, as I'm recording this April 2020 in the time of the Cove in 19 Pandemic. And because of this situation Ah, lot of us. I still live on my own. A lot of us don't have access. And who knows how long it will be until we have access to really be able to physically touch other people again to be able to hug and get those things that we need. So there are ways that we can practice that for ourselves with ourselves, um, again, whether it's just giving yourself a hug when you're feeling down, that could really release some of that energy. Some of those hormones endorphins, sure, exactly the right term. But it could help even if it's, you know, massaging your own neck or something like that is a thing. Also, I love I'm not ashamed to say I am a 30 something year old woman with a stuffed animal. So this is my My little is much Ikuma. I sleep with this stuff, bear, not you're gonna lie because it's soft and it's like, very huggable and squeezable. So if you haven't stuffed animals, you know, if that brings you comfort, do it. But those airways that we could be kind to ourselves and show ourselves self kindness. 6. Recognizing our common humanity: recognition of our common humanity is the second tool of self compassion. So recognizing that we are not alone and that no one is perfect and that so many of us suffer from feelings of being inadequate feelings of being a fraud or a phony, we're not alone in those feelings. Another book that was really helpful in really instrumental in my own healing journey during the time that everything fell apart is this book. It's called Win Things Fall Apart. So this book is written by Pema Children, who is an American Buddhist nun. And this book was recommended to me on either my first or second appointment with my current therapist, and it felt like my life was falling apart. And this book, when things fall apart, was really helpful because so Pema is a Buddhist nun. So this book is very informed by Buddhism and Buddhist practices, and there was a specific part of it where she talks about a practice called Tongue Glynn. So Tong Glynn is a meditation for sending and receiving compassion, and the thing that's wrong. The thing about Tongling that is different is instead of focusing on self compassion in Tongling, we actually focus on compassion towards others and healing the pain and suffering of other people. So when I was first starting on this self compassion journey, it was really hard for me to really practice self compassion because I had always been so hard on myself. I understood, unlike an intellectual level, the value of self compassion, but to actually put it into practice was really hard for me. But when I discovered this idea of Tong lit, it was easier because it flipped it on its head. I didn't have to think as much about how to heal myself. Instead, I could think about healing other people. So the idea of Tongling is this you You do this meditation and you breathe in and out. And as you breathe in, you imagine breathing in the pain of other people. And that sounds, this is it's a lot right, like if you really think about it, like I'm gonna breathe on the pain of other people. But it's, you know, it's a meditation. It's an idea. So you think about all of the other people either specific other people that you know where you think about like everybody in the world that's dealing with the same thing as you. So if you are feeling judgment, like if you're feeling like you're judged by other people in your life, judge for who you are judged for something about yourself instead of focusing on your own feelings of judgment, you think about the common humanity of that. You think about all of the other people who are experiencing that same sort of thing. And so, as you breathe in, you imagine breathing in all of their feelings about that. But as you breathe out, you imagine sending out waves of healing and light and joy to those people. So you send them that compassion and it sounds. I don't know if I was always a little like I don't do this woo hippie stuff. So if you're like that, I've totally been there. I still in there in many ways. But if you if you really just like practice and just try to go with this idea of Tongling and this idea of breathing in the pain, um, the specific type of pain of somebody else and then breathing out healing and relief and compassion to them, it's amazing what that practice could do for you. I found it really powerful myself. Another book, which I came to more recently that was really helpful for me around this idea of identifying and understanding our common humanity and how trying to be mawr communicative and compassionate towards other people also helps us be more better at communicating with ourselves. And we're compassionate with ourselves. So another book is called Nonviolent Communication. It's by Marshall Rosenberg, who had started working in this practice in the 19 sixties. He's passed away, but there is a whole organ international organization that still uses the tools that he created around nonviolent communication, and I highly recommend you check it out. It's really transformative, but it's really about identifying, observing and identifying our underlying unmet needs. And then how can we communicate those needs to other people? Or how can we help other people communicate? This needs to us, and it's really about understanding maids, observing needs and trying to communicate that and help help ourselves or help other people have. Those needs met because we are all human will have certain needs, and some of those needs are things like oxygen and food and water. And some of those needs are things like the need for physical touch, the need for belonging 7. Mindfulness: and the third component of self compassion is mindfulness, So it's kind of bringing all these things together that we've been talking about. It's bringing awareness to what are those needs, its observing those needs in yourself and becoming aware and mindful of them. I mentioned that my current therapist was the one that introduced me to the book when things fall apart. So when I first started going through this big life change a few years ago, I first started the long process of my break up. I went to a therapist for the first time ever. It wasn't until my early thirties that I had ever gone to a therapist, So I originally went to a Couples counselor. My ex partner and I. We would see this counselor together as a couple, and then we would also see her in individual sessions, and that experience was okay. I think finding a therapist is like any other relationship. There's gonna be people that you connect with on that work well with you, and but you might not find the right person immediately. Eso this first therapist was good in certain ways, but not good for me. In other certain ways. There's lots of different, you know, therapy styles like Eilat, psychology, psychiatry, styles and techniques and things. And the first therapist to me, it felt sometimes like it was It was that desire to, like, diagnose, right, Like trying to understand toe like diagnose what is wrong. Like, what can we do to fix that? She would take note, Um, but then when I I came to the realization that that therapist, the therapy, the type of therapy we were doing wasn't working for me like it wasn't really helping me move to the next level, it helped to a certain point. And then I got to the point where I needed to move past that. It just wasn't working. I got a recommendation from a friend of mine from my current therapist. So my current therapist, immediately the way that he approaches things, felt different. He comes. He's very interested in Buddhist practices, you know? He recommended the Puma Children book immediately. Um, and he brings this different kind of mindfulness to our sessions. So one of the things that I noticed immediately is he does a lot of observing of my body language, so he will notice things that, like I'm not even noticed because I'm a lip in my head, right? I'm very intellectually centered. I think a lot have a lot of anxiety like think about the future. And I tell myself like all this negative self talk and he would listen to me and watch me and observe me and instead of listening to the words coming out of my mouth, which he also does. But he would also notice the way that my physical body would change right? He would notice if I was sort of hunching, hunching in or like, you know, protecting a part of myself physically like closed off wherever he would notice that. And he would ask me open ended questions to help me start to notice and become more mindful of that myself. So part of this mindfulness is really about curiosity and observing observation, asking certain types of questions of yourself or asking certain types of questions of others. I will talk more about curiosity in a bit 8. The power of gratitude: the power of gratitude. So maybe you've heard about all of these studies, all of this data about the power of gratitude. There's a ton of information you can do. A Google search about how gratitude has been shown to improve our own happiness, levels our own well being. But practicing gratitude can not only improve our own happiness, our own mindset, but also can improve our relationships with other people. I had a project in 2018 which was the year that my life sort of, you know, got up into. I had a practice that I had already started at the beginning of that year called My Hashtag Year of Gratitude. So in late 2017 is when my relationship was really starting to get on the rocks and things were starting to shift. So by the time that January of 2018 rolled around, I wanted something to help me get on track, help me create intention, um, and help me sort of feel better about everything. A man. I'd also started to feel inauthentic with a lot of things when it came to my social media. So I've been this creative entrepreneur and I have worked in digital marketing for a number of years now, and I used to look at mediums like Instagram as this artistic expression, right? I had this this point in my life where I would love taking the little square photos on my phone and think about them as these, like many art projects. And I would think about the captions of these creative writing projects. And I used to be so expressive and creative when it came to how I would use Instagram as a platform of creativity and artistic expression. But in this period before I did my your Gratitude project in the year. So before that, I really shifted away from thinking about Instagram or other social media platforms as a tool for artistic expression, and it started to care too much about what other people thought I was doing it for the likes that was doing it for the Graham, right? And in the year before, I did my your gratitude project. I looked back through that year and counted. I may be posted, like 30 photos the entire year to instagram, and half of those were repost from previous years that were based on like how many likes had gotten before that right, Like I was just I really cared way too much about what other people thought, and I had stopped being true to myself. So I came up with this idea of a year of gratitude, where every single day for 365 days I posted something. I posted a photo and I posted a caption sharing what I was grateful for. It would post it to my instagram and push it through a poster to Facebook as well. And that year of Gratitude Project helped me get through such a painful year because little did I know when I started it in January that by July my relationship would be officially finally and did that my job would be completely turned upside down and become part time and that my dog would pass away, and then I would have to learn to. I live on my own work from home, be by myself, sort of re invent my whole life, learned to live again in a new way. And there were some days where I it was. There were someone like the worst, toughest days of my life. Like I didn't know how to also express public, how to express publicly, whatever the great before that day and how to be grateful at all. But somehow because by the time this summer came, I had already been doing this practice daily for like six months. I pushed through, and every single day I shared some sort of photo or image, and I shared some sort of post about what I was grateful for. And sometimes it was something as silly or flip it as I was hope. I was grateful for homemade Belgian waffles like I love a Good Home made by Belgian Waffle , and that was the thing was grateful for, and some days I started writing my caption, and I thought it would be something as simple as that, and it turned into something much deeper, and I shared and I was able to get really vulnerable online. And the thing is, that project helped me get through a really painful year. But I know that it helped other people, too, because not only did I get likes and comments on Facebook and Instagram, but I also had people reach out to me either directly via email or a text message or in person, and some of this outreach happened after this whole project was over. It's happened more recently where people have told me how much that project meant to them how inspired by that your gratitude project they were. So whether you choose to do something like that in that public format like I did in 2018 or whether you choose to have something like, like cute little journal that you keep for yourself and just document every day what you're grateful for, what brings you joy that day? What you accomplished that day, How can you practice gratitude when things are feeling tough when things are feeling like you want to be less than self compassionate, like you wanna be hard on yourself? Now here's a sort of caveat and update to this whole year of gratitude practice. Now again, as I mentioned, I'm recording this in mid April 2020. In the middle of these are unprecedented times of pandemic, although, you know, humanity has been through such times before, like pandemics and and things like this, most of us that are living right now. Unless we study history we have, we have still not personally experienced these things in the visual way that we're experiencing them now. Um, so a few weeks ago, I was remembering my year of Gratitude Project and remembering how that got me through such a painful time. And I decided to do a 30 days of gratitude. I was like, April is 30 days long. 30 day seems like a perfect amount of time to do that. And I announced it, and I started posting publicly on Instagram and Facebook every single day what I was grateful for. And then I found myself a few days ago starting to feel more and more like I wasn't. I wasn't able to be as authentic in what I was sharing. Um, in this particular moment and I realized, you know, I created this new 30 days of gratitude project. I had the idea. I created it to do it in a public format. But I created it to do it for me and that I'm also allowed to shift and change and be compassionate towards myself to decide if and when I want to quit a project or put it to the side for well, I still reflect daily and think about what I'm grateful for. But I realized that in this moment of what we're all dealing with, um, what I felt comfortable sharing publicly was different then. The ways that I am authentically grateful for myself, that might be more personal. Um, and so I felt that to do it publicly it felt like a disservice to me. And it felt like because it was a disservice to me, like it would be a disservice to other people, too. So sort of put paws on my new 30 days of gratitude project. But I thought that was relevant to share because I think, especially as creatives, more entrepreneurs or artists. Ah, lot of times we have those situations where we're really passionate and excited about a business or a project or something that we're creating and we really want to do it. And then, at some point in the process, our values shift or our intentions shift, and that's OK. Part of being self compassionate is being willing to adapt and be flexible with ourselves, especially so that is one thing that I am grateful for is that realization for myself 9. The strength of curiosity: the strength of curiosity. Now I love curiosity. I've always been a pretty curious person asking questions, wanting to understand things, seeking answers and wanting to learn. And some people are more naturally curious than others. But we can all cultivate curiosity, and curiosity and creativity are very closely intertwined. There's like a Venn diagram. It was like overlaps Right now. I've mentioned before how I started going to my current therapist and he would observe things about the way that I was speaking and the way that I was acting with my body, how my physical representation waas a manifestation of what was going on inside my head, right? And another thing that he does. And the another thing that a lot of therapists and psychologists use is open ended questions. Instead of asking yes or no questions, they might ask questions that make us pause, make us examine things further and make us share more information about what's really going on or what's really at the cause of something. Now, curiosity and creativity do have a lot in common. I've actually had the chance to study some of the science of creativity and how to practice deliberate creativity how toe be purposeful and mawr creative and do it on purpose with intention. There's an organization called the Creative Education Foundation, and they have an annual conference called Sip C, which is short for the creative problem solving Institute. I got involved with this organization and this conference a few years ago, and last year I was the embassy of the conference. One of the things that is most interesting to me is within their framework of the creative problem, something process. There is something called divergent and convergent thinking so divergent. Thinking is where we brainstorm where we generate a lot of ideas where we ask a lot of questions and just come up with, like, all these things, right, and then we converge and decide. OK, these are the most at interesting or useful out of those ideas, right? Like we kind of narrow it back in. But during the divergent thinking part, we often ask a lot of questions, especially during the first part of the creative problem solving process, which is clarify. We definitely ask a lot of questions that so the reason it's important to clarify is because you want to understand what problem you're trying to solve, and I think this part is really helpful when it comes to understanding ourselves and what's going on internally with us and our understanding how to be compassionate to ourselves, understanding who we authentically are in all of the ways that that I mean. So when I first learned about the creative problem solving process, I learned about this idea of invitationals language stems. So these air certain types of ways to frame the questions that are more open ended. Instead of asking ourselves, we're asking somebody else yes or no questions or questions that just warrant a very simple little answer, their questions that make us dig deeper on. So this is really helpful for exploring your own creative process and learning to be more deliberately creative. But it will also help you dig deeper into what's going on emotionally with you, too. So here are some examples of invitational language stems that you can try out how to. How might I in what ways might we? It would be great if what I see us doing is, and there's plenty MAWR invitational language stuff than this, but you can see how framing questions in certain ways will allow you to have more open ended answers. Dig deeper and think further 10. Questions to ask yourself: questions to ask yourself. So now that we've gotten all curious, I have some reflective questions that I'm gonna guide you through where you can ask yourself some of these open ended questions that will help you understand how you could be mawr. Self compassionate. How you can practice gratitude, how you can better understand your full, authentic self, what that means to you and also haven't take away a little cheat sheet that you can keep with you. Keep nearby so that when you're feeling down, you could refer back to that, and it can help you remember what practices what rituals you can use in your life so you can grab a notebook or piece of paper and write your answers down to these as we go. You can also use any artistic medium of your choice if you are an illustrator or you want to paint it out or do whatever use your creative process used that artistic medium of choice to answer these questions and to express this in a way that is meaningful for you. The last question will be this class project, which will give you a take away that you can keep and refer to later, so that when you are feeling down when you're feeling less than self compassionate, you could refer back to that and hopefully help you get out of that funk that you're in. So here we go. How often do you feel or have you felt judged by others? In what ways have you felt judged by others? How often do you find yourself judging others? In what ways do you find yourself judging others, you'll find that I have asked a lot of questions around judgment and judgment. Whether it's judgment towards ourselves or judgment towards other people is something that I have thought a lot about because it's something that has brought a lot of pain to my life . And to me, judgment has often been the opposite of self compassion. So by unpacking some of these questions, reflecting on the ways that I've been judgmental towards other people because I have definitely been judgmental towards plenty of people in my life and the ways that I have been judgmental towards myself, that has helped me learn to be more mindful and aware, and to re shift and reframe the ways that I'm judgmental and to be self compassionate or to be compassionate towards other people instead of judgmental. Next question. Who are the people in your life that bring you joy? Now for this question, I would love for you to really make a list and keep this as a cheat sheet to whether you keep it as a digital cheat sheet. I love the notes app on my phone of a Mac person, so I love the notes app. But whether you keep it as a digital list or printed out in your refrigerator or somewhere close to you, especially in times when we may not be able to physically connect with each other, having the list of the most the most special people the people who are closest to you, the people who bring you joy that could be really helpful to know if you're feeling down, who can I call, who can I text message? Who can I do a face time or video chat with that will help me feel better. And maybe you can be that person for somebody else to back to our gratitude practice. What are you grateful for right now? And finally, here's my last question for you. And this is the one that I really want to think about as the culmination of this self compassion class, because I want you to create a resource for yourself that you can keep handy whether you stick it on the refrigerator, put it on your bathroom mirror, people it in your wallet. Just keep it close to you. You might make a simple version of this for yourself, just to get it all out of your head. Get all of the ideas down on paper or some sort of other form. But then you might want to make a beautiful version of it for yourself so that you could really keep it handy. Look at it. Remind yourself of these answers. So here is the project. Here's the question. What rituals or activities that are currently available to you bring you joy? What rituals or activities bring you joy and I say currently available? Because again, I mentioned I'm recording this in April 2020. So many of us in many places are currently either quarantined or staying at home because of the cove in 19 penned Emmick. But whether you're watching this in the future, when hopefully we're all past this or not. Not all activities or things that bring you joy might always be available, So I want you to think about things that are more readily available to practice any time you might be feeling down. So here are some examples from my own experience, and I've mentioned some of these in the class before walking to the park, sitting in grass, leaning against my favorite oak tree, taking a warm bath with Epsom salts, lighting a scented candle, practicing art, whether it's coloring in a coloring book. I love Zen doodles, very tiny little doodles that I concolor end or watercolor painting or practicing on my iPad and using procreate to practice digital lettering. Those are just a few of the rituals and activities that bring me joy and help me feel grounded. But I would love to hear from you. What are some of your favorite rituals and activities, Whether you just wanna share a few as a comment or upload the image of a photo or the actual digital document of, however you create this reminder for yourself, what are the activities and rituals that bring you joy and help you practice self kindness . I hope you found this class useful. Andi, I wish you self compassion, self kindness and a beautiful rest of your day.