[29 September, 2011]

my brain on grad school

This is pretty much my life. I am in my 4th year of grad school and my ambitions went from Abolish Sexism to work for an influential organization, like the UN! to publish anything something that someone will maybe even read one day to put on a shirt and brush my hair in the morning.

So this is where I am. This academic year I am hoping to take things down a notch. I am hoping to really focus, to figure out what in life is important, and to take better care of myself. The latter will involve self-compassion*, which is an astonishingly simple and difficult thing to practice:

Self-compassion entails three main components: (a) self-kindness--being kind and understanding toward oneself in instances of pain or failure rather than being harshly self-critical, (b) common humanity--perceiving one's experiences as part of the larger human experience rather than seeing them as separating and isolating, and (c) mindfulness--holding painful thoughts and feelings in balanced awareness rather than over-identifying with them.

I don't really understand why so many people are so bad at this, and I am certainly one of the ones who is. So I am learning to be gentle with myself and to cherish my small accomplishments of every day.

* My linguist husband objects to this term, because it literally translates to self-co-suffering, which I guess is an impossibility. I told him that I am practicing self-compassion by refraining from stabbing him with my pen. I also hold him that he may think of a better term, if he so desires, and then we'll talk. Because I am that diplomatic and ready for work at the UN!

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