Four simple steps to stop being hard on ourselves

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Mindful has recently drawn attention to the RAIN meditation, a mindfulness technique to address feelings of insecurity and unworthiness and encourage self-compassion. The acronym was originally created around 20 years ago by Michele McDonald and follows four steps of practising mindfulness, as outlined below:

  • Recognise what’s going on
  • Allow the experience to be there, just as it is
  • Investigate with kindness
  • Natural awareness, which comes from not identifying with the experience

The recognising step focuses on acknowledging the thoughts, feelings and behaviours that are affecting us, such as the ‘critical inner voice’, ‘constricting beliefs’ and feelings of shame and fear that are holding us back. Mindful states that this step is like ‘awakening from a dream or coming out of a trance.’

Allowing the experience to be there is to accept the emotions, feelings and sensations and avoid withdrawing from the present moment because of the unpleasantness. By allowing these feelings we are not agreeing they are just but are able to look deeper at them to reevaluate them and understand them.

Investigating with kindness is to draw attention to the current experience, to ask questions like: what is happening? What wants more attention? What am I believing? This is to be more mindful and to stop unconscious beliefs and emotions controlling your experience that make you feel unworthy.

Natural awareness is about non-identification, not linking the present moment with emotions, sensations or stories from the past that can often have a negative impact on how we cope with current situations. This is about resting and letting our ‘natural awareness’ take control.

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