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Self-Compassion During Transitions in a Post-Pandemic World

By: Erin Wentroble, PsyD, Site Director at The Renfrew Center Pittsburgh 

It has been a long and strange year, and it finally seems we are coming out of lockdown status, with potential to return to some normalcy as summer 2021 rolls in.  As you start to consider re-engaging in activities you have lost connection with, and relationships and people you have not seen in a while, you may start to feel the urge to compare your progress through the pandemic with the progress of others, and you may even start to feel like you don’t measure up.    

Take a moment to think about any roles or contexts where you feel like you may be judging yourself too harshly. When we spend too much time judging ourselves for where we “should” be, we do not consider all the obstacles we overcame this year. After you have identified an area where you are being too hard on yourself, sit down and write yourself a letter from the perspective of a kind, unconditionally loving friend. Consider all you have been through, all your strengths, all your imperfections and know they make you unique, strong, and worthy of compassion. Make sure your letter conveys a clear message of acceptance, kindness towards yourself and a genuine wish for your own happiness and peace of mind.

Keep your letter and read it to yourself on a day where the voice of comparison rings louder, and remember that during this transition, we need self-compassion now more than ever. You are human and worthy of giving yourself the same compassion you would give to someone you love dearly.    

Activity Idea from: Kristin Neff, https://self-compassion.org/exercise-3-exploring-self-compassion-writing/

Dr. Wentroble received her Doctoral degree in Counseling Psychology from Chatham University and completed post-doctoral training at Western Psychiatric Institute. She served as a therapist at Western Psychiatric Institute’s Center for Overcoming Problem Eating and held student practicum placements at Western Psychiatric’s Pediatric Intensive Outpatient Clinic for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Chatham University Counseling Center and the University of Pittsburgh’s Counseling Center. Prior to joining Renfrew, Dr. Wentroble helped develop CO-STAR (College Option-Services for Transition Age Students at Risk) where she developed a new intensive outpatient program for treating at-risk students.

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