Self-Compassion - Novice High
Positive Psychology Learning Outcomes
- identify examples of self-compassion.
- recognize ways to be more self-compassionate.
- practice self-compassion.
Language Learning Outcomes
- connect content to background knowledge.
- listen for specific information.
- use new vocabulary words to create sentences.
- describe/narrate in the present tense.
Self-compassion is the ability to treat ourselves as we would treat a dear friend who is having a hard time. Self-compassion soothes the negative and grows the positive, therefore it is key to coping with personal limitations while keeping a positive mindset and attitude. Tell students that in this lesson they will learn how to be kinder and nicer to themselves.
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Activate Background Knowledge
Go over the following words and examples with students. Afterwards, have the students think of their own example sentences.
comfort (v): to make someone feel less worried, unhappy, or upset, for example by saying kind things to them
- Maria comforted Sammy when she was sad.
compassion (n): a strong feeling of sympathy for someone who is suffering, and a desire to help them
- Sara has compassion for Diego who was crying.
kindness (n): being friendly
- Diego thanked Sara for her kindness.
treat (v): behave toward or deal with in a certain way
- We should treat people with kindness.
kindly (adv): with kindness
- The old woman spoke kindly about her grandson.
bully (v): to say or do unkind, rude, or mean things to someone
- Yuri bullied Stefano by calling him stupid.
sympathy (n): the feeling of being sorry for someone who is in a bad situation
- Yuki showed sympathy for Stefano by hugging him.
Activity 1: Listening/Speaking
Play the following video:
After watching the video, have the students create sentences to describe the video using the new vocabulary.
Activity 2: Speaking
Show the students the following pictures, and have them describe and discuss the situation with a partner. Ask students to focus their attention on the feelings the people on the pictures are experiencing and invite them to empathize. Ask students to pay close attention to the way they feel as they go over the different pictures.;
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Activity 3: Speaking
Using the pictures in Activity 2, have the students pretend that they are the person in the picture. In pairs (or groups) have them share ideas about how they could treat themselves with kindness and self-compassion in that situation. You can invite students to try to recall a situation in which they felt the same way as the people in the pictures. Help them identify how they could better handle the situation by showing kindness and compassion towards themselves. You may also ask students to imagine how they would have liked to be treated by other people in those situations. For example: when I felt overwhelmed, I would have liked for someone to reach out to me and remind me that I could do it.
Activity 4: Listening/Speaking
Play the music in the following video and invite students to focus their attention and think about ways they can be kind and compassionate to themselves. It may be helpful to ask students to see themselves from a different perspective. Have them imagine they are talking to a dear friend who is facing the same concerns as them. How would they respond to their friend? What would they say? How would they try to support them? Have students write down one idea on how they will be kinder and more compassionate to themselves. For example: whenever I make a mistake, I will remind myself that it is okay to make mistakes and that I can try again tomorrow.
Option 1: Compassionate Letter to Myself
To begin practicing self-compassion, it can be helpful to have students write a letter to themselves about a current struggle in their lives or an area where they feel inadequate and want to motivate themselves to change. Following the idea from the previous activity, invite students to write this letter as if they were talking to a dear friend facing the same concerns as them. Tell students to not worry too much about organizing their words or thoughts and to simply write from their hearts. You can also tell them that this letter does not have to be long, a couple of sentences might be enough.
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Option 2: Have students think of a current struggle in their lives. Then, ask them to make a list of ways they can show compassion towards themselves, and encourage them to do one of the things on their list today.
Invite students to share their experiences and discuss how kindness and self-compassion are helping them be happier in their lives. Have students talk about how they felt when writing a compassionate letter to themselves, did they feel relieved, happier, comforted? Praise students when they talk about their feelings with this experience.
Ask students to discuss what the following quote means to them. Highlight any comments related to self-compassion and kindness.
“You don’t have to be perfect to be worthy of love and kindness”- Shauna Shapiro.
After a couple of days, have students talk and share their experiences with self-compassion. Are they doing the things on their list? Praise students when they talk about examples of self-compassion and kindness.
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