Start by asking students to explain what it means to be compassionate. Students will likely relate compassionate behaviour to other qualities such as sympathy, empathy, care, understanding, and kindness. Students may also give examples of compassionate behaviours like helping a friend who is hurt or sitting with someone who’s upset. Summarize students’ ideas by letting them know that compassion involves being sensitive to another person’s pain, alongside an urge or desire to help.
Based on this definition and students’ own explanations, ask students to consider the meaning of self-compassion. Hopefully, students will be able to recognize that self-compassion is simply compassion directed inward. After identifying what self-compassion is, use information presented in the READY section to explain the three critical components of self-compassion: Self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness.
Once students have a better understanding of self-compassion, use two poster pages, or create two columns on the whiteboard, titled “Self-compassionate behaviour” and “Not Self-compassionate behaviour”. Hand out markers to students and ask them to add any ideas and examples to the appropriate chart/area. Once there is a list of examples for each category, stop and read through the lists as a class. If any behaviours do not align with the category they were placed in, have a conversation about why the categorization is incorrect and fix the mistake. Before moving on to the next activity, make sure that students understand what it means to have self-compassion and that they don’t have questions about anything that has been discussed so far.