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Take a Compassion Break

February is typically a time to address unreasonably difficult to keep New Year’s resolutions. As a physician, I am used to being the voice of discipline. Counselling regarding the evils of sugar and the benefits of exercise are part of my daily dialogue. The unintended consequence of this dialogue is often self-loathing and lowered self-esteem. 


This year, I would like to send out the message of self-compassion. Dr. Kristen Neff is the pioneer of the self-compassion movement. It is worth checking out her online talks. When we engage in self-criticism, we become closed and unable to change. Carl Rogers once said, “The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am then I can change.” 


I certainly am not endorsing an unhealthy lifestyle or ignoring the importance of monitoring and treating chronic disease. I am suggesting that we put our mental health front and centre to allow ourselves to love ourselves and be worthy of self-care. 


In the words of Thich Nhat Hanh: 


I know that love is myself. 

And that pain is also myself, 

that understanding is myself and suffering too.  

Then I will be mindful, 

I will not supress my own suffering because I know that I can transform 

into a flower and the flower exists because suffering exists. 


This year, be kind… to yourself. 


Dr. Bhooma Bhayana is a family physician in London and the mother of two young men and proud grandmother of three! She continues to find wonder and enjoyment in family practice despite more than 30 years on the job!


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