Practicing Mindful Self-Compassion Using RAIN

It’s not always easy to give yourself the compassion that you deserve. You might tend to dwell on negative thoughts about yourself and put yourself down, even when you haven’t done anything wrong. Perhaps you’re highly critical of your own actions, and your self-talk sounds far harsher than anything you would say to a close friend.

And when you’re going through a hard time, it can be especially difficult to feel genuine compassion for yourself. Maybe you feel like you’re being punished for doing something wrong, or you’re having trouble forgiving yourself for making a mistake.

Self-compassion might not come naturally to you. But you can begin practicing self-compassion with the RAIN method. Let’s explore how it works and why it’s so beneficial.

Recognize What’s Happening

If you’re in a situation when you feel like you can’t grant yourself any compassion, it’s important to take a moment and simply recognize what’s happening. Perhaps you’re upset with yourself because you feel like you messed up in some way. Maybe you’ve ended up in a bad situation that you felt like you should have anticipated or planned for. Maybe you accidentally said something hurtful to a loved one, and you wish you could take it back. Or perhaps nothing notable has gone wrong – you’re just feeling temporarily down on yourself.

No matter the reason behind your feelings, you can take a step back and just allow yourself to notice what’s going on around you. Identify the root of your emotions and acknowledge the situation you’re in without judgment.

Allow the Moment As It Is

When you feel like you’ve hit a setback in some way, it can be so difficult to accept the moment for what it is. You might feel like you want to rush through it and put it behind you immediately. Or you may become fixated on the past, wanting to go back and change things. But right now, you need to just allow the moment to exist exactly as it is. Notice how you feel, observe your surroundings, and focus on the present. Let yourself be without any pressure to change anything right away.

Investigate Your Feelings With Kindness

Once you’ve given yourself some time to accept the moment you’re in, you can begin to explore your feelings on a deeper level. Be kind to yourself as you contemplate these questions. This is your opportunity to begin practicing self-compassion.

For instance, you might ask yourself why this particular moment is occurring, or what your strong emotions are trying to call attention to. Question what you believe about this moment, and why you believe it. Do you feel trapped by painful emotions? What needs are hiding underneath these emotions? Be patient and gentle with yourself as you reflect on your answers. It’s okay if you need to acknowledge some difficult truths – just continue reminding yourself that you deserve compassion.

Natural Loving Awareness

Natural loving awareness can take time to develop. It’s about being you who are and living with an open heart. Natural loving awareness involves acknowledging doubts and judgments when they arise – but letting go of them after noting their presence, instead of holding on to these feelings and internalizing them in the long run. Rather than getting upset with yourself when something goes wrong, you can practice the first three steps of RAIN to consider why you feel the way you do and what you could learn from the situation.