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From ABC, this is the 10 percent happier podcast. I'm Dan Harris. Hey, gang, it's Friday, that means it's bonus time and this is a really unusual bonus, we are bringing back two of our wisest and most popular guests for a Q&A session. You may remember expert meditation teachers Jeff Warren and Susan Piver from Episode one in our New Year's series. Or you may recognize them from their excellent work as guides in our New Year's meditation challenge on the 10 percent happier app.


Today, Jeff and Susan are back on the podcast, and they're here to respond directly to questions from you, our listeners. People have been submitting us questions about self-love and self compassion. It's a tricky concept. It's no surprise that you've sent in more than a few humdingers. So strap yourself in. Jeff and Susan are going to bring back their wisdom to help you make some sustainable, healthy change in your life as we kick off a new year here.


One thing to say before we dive in, we would appreciate it if you could take a few minutes to help us out by answering a survey about your experience with this podcast. We're always looking for ways to get better.


We'd love to hear from you in particular. We'd like to hear from anybody who listens to this show but doesn't use the 10 percent happier app. But really, we'd like to hear from everybody. So go to 10 percent dot com forward slash survey, 10 percent dotcom forgood survey. Thank you for that. All right. Let's dive in with Jeff Warren and Susan Piver.


Susan. Jeff, thanks for doing this. Glad to be here, happy to be here. Let's dive in with some voicemail's. You know how this is going to go. We're going to be playing voicemails that listeners left us with questions about self-love and self compassion and meditation.


Before I play you that, though, I want to play you a clip of you guys talking, because after we recorded an episode a few weeks ago, we caught you guys talking in ways that revealed your own inner critic. So let me just play that to you.


I'll just say quickly, feel free to trim whatever you want. I think a little bit to not to be self-critical, but to take a little while to kind of me to warm up. So I think I kind of rambled a bit off the top so I would not be offended if you decide to take big chunks of that out.


OK, I know that this is none of my business, but I did not hear rambling and I felt the same as you.


So, Jeff, let me start with you, clearly, even after having spent the whole episode, which we posted a few weeks ago in which we talked about managing the inner critic, yours is not vanquished.




Thanks for busting me and outing me as a human. True. Yeah. No, I mean, it's an ongoing feature of my life, actually, even during recording something like that, there's a part of me that wants to do the best job I can. So I'm thinking about that. Am I doing a good job? And I can recognize when I'm more on point and when I'm not. Now, if I were more economists with that, I would know that it would sort of all wash out in the end and it would be fine.


But because I'm not totally because part of me locates, you know, acceptance for myself in others in some way, I still get hooked. So for sure, that's why I do this freakin practice. That's why I could so relate to the whole self compassion thing because I need it.


Yeah, I have no idea what you're talking about. Sorry.


No, I realized this is early when we were recording the other day, you played a clip of me talking inside. I noticed I was just cringing.


I was like, oh God, I don't want to listen to my own voice. And at the end I said something like, Well, that's Susan Piver. Sounds like a know it all.


And the second I said it, I was like, oh, crap, I just did it. I just dissed myself. And I did feel uncomfortable hearing my voice and all I heard.


And it was, well, she sounds quite holier than thou and I don't know how it sounded to anyone else.


And I don't know if I'd heard it on a different day, I would have heard something else. But yeah, that's not gone. That's not gone. But what does seem more. Present in addition to the just like self owning constantly is seeing that I'm self owning.


I was going to say, where are these Elysian Fields of perfect mental health? Who has them exactly? Here you look around. I mean, actually, even when you spend time with people who've been meditating for a long time, senior teachers, their human foibles are right there. And I think that maybe there's some people who really have zero suffering in their life. I mean, how would you know? I am skeptical.


Super skeptical. Yeah. Dan, at one point in a past conversation, you and I talked about this. I went through a period in my life where I had a lot of panic attacks. And if I would tell someone about it, they would say, well, you're a meditation teacher. Shouldn't you just be able to meditate? And I would be like, no, it doesn't change the truth of being a beautiful, messy, crazy, awesome human.


And what meditation does enable you to do it, what appears to experience it more fully with a more open heart.


This is such an important conversation, the conversation of sort of like what can you change in your life and what can you change? You know, for me personally, it's I have a diagnosis and I have a diagnosis in bipolar. I have this kind of tortured inner situation for many years of my life. And I thought meditation was going to cure me of that tortured inner situation, that it was going to bring my attention in. So it was less shooting off in all directions that it would bring my emotional life in, which has a natural up and down that can be quite wild.


And it's been a very, very, very, very long process of realizing that it's not going to do that. Or rather it does sort of, but not in the ways you think that in coming into accepting the weird way you're configured. So in my case, this particular sensitivity that's going to create a sort of volatility in my attention and my mood in coming to accept that, then it shaves off all the suffering in the system that's amplifying those signals, that's making you more volatile than is making your attention more strung out and desperate to find some place to land.


So, in other words, I've had to learn to accept this complicated, messy person in order to really receive the gifts of that configuration. And I think that's what every one of us is facing in our life. In a way.


I love that you use the word volatility several times. And, you know, I don't know if anyone's ever read anything about alchemy in the ancient art or the modern art or any form of alchemy. But in the ancient art of alchemy, the first step in transforming something base into something precious is to introduce that substance into a state of volatility, which I have always found fascinating, because it's sort of only when something becomes volatile can you actually reform it.


So there's something uncomfortable and also powerful in your state. So volatility, they're not something to be ashamed of. They're a base material that's ready to reform in some way. Beautiful.


Thank you. I've never heard that. I'll take it. It's yours. I really appreciate this conversation because, I mean, I think is very useful for people to hear. That even though your meditation teachers are not avatars of perfection and as opposed to being demotivating, I think it's just the opposite, that this practice can take you very far, but you're still struggling with things. And, in fact, that struggle can be helpful in helping other people.


So kudos to you guys. Speaking of other people, let's start bringing in some voice mails. Without further ado, here's a voicemail.


Number one, I is asking the question I have with self-love. How is it possible to do that when there's things in your life you can't even forgive yourself for? Thanks by. Wolf, I relate to that, Susan. Let's start with you. Yeah, things that you can't forgive yourself for. It's just Jane, I wish I could just look at you or hug you right now, because that is extremely painful when you can't forgive yourself. So the first thing that I would suggest is stop trying to forgive yourself, because then you can't forgive yourself for not forgiving yourself.


And it turns into this very painful, endless loop. So stop trying to forgive yourself. It doesn't mean let yourself off the hook. You can if you want. But that's not what I'm suggesting. Feel what it feels like to be someone who can't forgive themselves and tune in to that. Where is it in your body? Where is it in the environment? But the important thing is not the story of why you can't forgive yourself. Because I said this.


I did that. All of that in this particular moment can wait. That's not that. That's unimportant. It's important. But for now, just tune into what it's like to be someone who can't forgive themselves. And if you're anything like me, my guess is some maybe even small degree of self compassion might also enter the picture and that a little softening agent can initiate a process of forgiveness that otherwise goes missing when you just are beating yourself up constantly.


I mean, I could not agree more. This is the sort of paradox, you know, we get in these states of suffering and challenge and of course, we want to get out of them. And yet the medicine is to completely accept that you're in the state of unforgivable illness or you're in a state of depression or you're in a state of whatever it is that you don't try to. It's so counterintuitive. You don't try to get out of it.


You just let yourself be there. And in the letting of yourself being there, I would almost always this sense of the humanity of it emerges, you know, the humanity of the heartbreak of being human. It's just naturally happens that you begin to realize that other people are in this place, too. There's a kind of common humanity here and compassion just often spontaneously arises. And then, of course, the paradox, you can then move more quickly through that, because from the place of acceptance, all the driven this that was keeping it stuck starts to lift and then the system can begin to move on on its own.


Thanks, guys.


Let's go to the next voice mail. Hey, Dan, and your whole team, thank you for everything you do. This is Jennifer calling from Iowa City, Iowa. It's really easy for me to look back at myself at different points in my life and have a high degree of compassion for myself and to find myself beautiful and to really see how I was doing the best I could do given the circumstances. But I have a harder time finding all of that for myself in that given moment.


And one of my questions is like, why is that? Like, I'm clearly capable of it because I managed to build it up for myself, even like looking back on myself one to two years ago. But then again, it's harder for me to do that right now because I'm always thinking of like, oh, I could lose a few pounds or there's that project I want to finish that I haven't finished and why haven't I and et cetera. So I can't wait to see what you do with all this.


Take care.


I appreciate that question very much. Jeff, let's start with you this time. Well, I'd say you're getting there. You know, it's sort of like self compassion by degrees. I mean, I don't know why it's the case, but it's hard why it's easier to like an earlier version of yourself. But if I had to guess because that earlier version of yourself doesn't exist anymore, it's an idea. So it's easier to have kind of compassion for an idea than for their true, messy, complicated disaster of who we are now.


So what I would say is that you're doing great. Keep going. That's actually a place where a lot of people start with some compassion is like an early version of themselves, themselves as a little kid, this obvious innocence and vulnerability that we can find some caring for and then you can kind of march your way up through the different years until you walk up to the person you are now, the person we are now. All the ways we kind of disappoint ourselves is intense.


It's sort of triggering. So it is the hardest place you could say to begin from. But that's what the practices.


Yeah, it's interesting that you say, Jeff, that the person that you are having compassion for who was in the past doesn't exist anymore. That's really interesting. And what is this time like? That happens with compassion? Why could I do it for who I used to be, but not for who I am? Many of us have become wired to think that if I'm not constantly working or dunning myself or criticizing myself or pushing myself, the whole damn thing's going to fall apart.


The glue that's holding it together is my self aggression, for lack of a better phrase. And is that true? I, I would encourage myself and everyone else to examine piece. It's not.


And then just like with Jane, who couldn't forgive herself, it's a good place to start is you forgive yourself for not being able to forgive yourself. And when you can't have compassion for yourself, you could start with having compassion for yourself, for not being able to have compassion for yourself, because that's what's happening now. And that's always a good place to start with. What is happening right now. Guys are doing great. Completely unsurprisingly, let's let's move to the next voice mail.


Haidian, hope you're doing well, I'm calling for some perspective on self compassion and kindness after years of working in the corporate world, and now I'm starting a new business and reflecting on how I was successful in that corporate world. Through my meditation practice and through talking with coaches, I realized I really had a perspective of continuous improvement. And what that meant was I focused on what could be improved, what could change, what was going wrong first. That's how I was successful in the corporate world.


Now that I'm starting a new business, I really want a foundation for self compassion. And I want to be able to celebrate one's first and look at what is working first and only changing one or two things that is working. And I'm having a really hard time enrolling myself in this idea. I think I'm still stuck on the idea that I need to hone in on what's not working or to improve in order to meet those same levels of success that I had in the corporate world.


I would love your perspective on this. And I should note, I am very positive generally and very positive with those around me. So this is really something that I do to myself. Thanks so much for all you do. And looking forward to hearing that new challenge. It's not uncommon, I think, to be positive with people around you and brutal with yourself. Susan, I don't know. Let me just see if I can take a shot at what she said and then see if it lands with you.


But it strikes me that I just wonder whether there's a false dichotomy she set up.


You know, we do a lot of, you know, on my team, various teams I'm working on with 10 percent happier. We do a lot of what we call postmortems after a project, and we do both. We look at what went well and what didn't go well. And I feel like celebrating the wins and looking at the misses can work very well in concert. You don't need to pick one or the other. But I don't know, maybe I misheard her question.


Maybe I'm taking it the wrong direction. What do you think?


Yeah, no, I don't think I don't think you misheard her. And it is really valuable to look at what went well and what went poorly. And a key part of what you said is as part of a team. So that's situates the conversation in a different ballpark. And when you started your own business and I speak from personal experience, here's having from having my own business, especially when it's new, it's so friggin vulnerable. It's just so vulnerable.


And you're as good as your last email exchange. Someone said they like what you're doing. Oh, this is going to work. Someone didn't respond. I was never going to work. So I think a place to start with self compassion is to recognize that when you start your own business, whatever the content is, you're telling the world who you are and you're stepping out from behind a corporate screen, team screen, you know, any of the screens.


And it just carries with it a very intense sense of vulnerability. And to apply, I want to be different. I don't want to feel vulnerable. I don't want to feel the things I am feeling is like distances you from what you are seeking, which is a way of feeling comfortable in your skin, in your new business, and it's just not comfortable right now. And so can you get comfortable with that in the sense of accept it, feel it, become curious about it before you try to change it?


And I know that meditation can help because it teaches you how to ride waves, not how to dictate waves or change waves into other kinds of waves. So then also I'll just close by saying I feel you and kudos to you for being willing to step out in this way and. It's a big deal. Thank you, Susan. Let's move to the next voice mail. Hi, Dan, this is Theresa from Connecticut. Comparison is the thief of joy.


It is this quote from Teddy Roosevelt that I used to frequently remind myself not to compare myself to others whenever possible. This is one act of self-love that I often turn to, in addition to granting myself some solitude time every day. That time is used for self care activities such as my daily meditation practice, yoga practice by a walk outside reflecting, journaling and reading. My question to you is, are the things we do for self care the same as self-love, or is the latter a much deeper concept to consider?


And how so? Thanks for offering this opportunity. Have a great day.


That's such a great question and I'm glad it. We have people who are smarter than me here to answer it. Jeff, what's your take? Oh, yeah, I mean, I think it's not like these concepts live as these indelible things that are, you know, that everyone is going to agree on. But I guess I would say when I subjectively think about self care versus self love, the self love for me is really about acceptance. Like who you are, as good as you are, is OK.


The ups and downs, the whole nine yards, it's like that's the sort of this baseline place of working to accept myself. The self care is more noticing when I'm having a hard time and then being intelligent about implementing a strategy that works. Just like if you notice your friend having a hard time, you might help them or want them to find a strategy that's going to work for them. So it's like that more active peace is the for me, the I guess the self care peace.


Susan, what's your take? Yeah, I would have had with self-love, I just think of all love's other love and self-love. It's a relationship and it has ups and downs. And it's useful to stay in the relationship and ride the waves when you feel good about yourself, not good about yourself. All of that can count as self-love. And I agree with what Jeff is saying, that self care is more like boots on the ground. What do I need right now?


Can I supply it for myself? And underneath that is self love, certainly. But self love is an umbrella that can embrace self care and more. You know, we talked about this when we did the full episode recently on the show. At least for me, I can get hung up on the word love, and I think it's useful sometimes to dial down the grandiosity and think of it just as Jeff, I think has referred to it as, you know, he used a different word than the word I'm about to use, but I'm not allowed to use swear words on the show.


But giving a crap about yourself, he used a word that starts with the letter S, and if you can just take it down to that, then, of course, every shift in your chair. As the great Ming, your Rinpoche has said, every shift in your care, everything you do, has that aspect of care in it and this to say something about the living dynamic process of that care.


You know, when you walk around with an attitude of basic care for the world, for yourself, it changes how you walk. It changes how you exercise like, oh, am I am I pushing myself too hard? Am I just like, am I going to just run over some limit that's actually going to hurt me? You know, there's this sense in which you start to just have this friendly, caring concern about every part of your experience start to come out.


And that just is a more intelligent and interesting place to live. I can speak personally for myself. It's been more interesting and intelligent place to live inside that than it was previously, just unconsciously shooting towards my goals and dragging my mind and body behind me like it was just being dragged behind a pickup truck.


If that makes sense, it doesn't matter to them a bunch of strange words, but that's your inner critic, but it actually did make sense.


Great guys. Really appreciate you doing this, as always. Excellent work. And thank you.


Such a pleasure. Let's do this every day.


I would boost my mood.


So great to hang out with you guys. Thanks again to Jeff and Susan. Thanks to everybody who joined the New Year's meditation challenge in the 10 percent happier. It was great, I'm sure will be circling back to this practice of self compassion a lot going forward. And I'm sure we'll be doing more challenges. We'll see you back here on Monday for a fresh episode. I give you one definition are an unusual couple. Oh, I don't think that was ever in question.


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