The 3 Stages of Progress with Mindful Self-Compassion

The mindful self-compassion course talks about the 3 stages of progress with mindful self-compassion. As there are a number of people I am working with at present with mindfulness and self-compassion, I thought I would explain a little more about the 3 stages.  


The 3 Stages of Progress with Mindful Self-Compassion

It is said that training in mindful self-compassion goes through 3 stages. The 3 stages of progress are –

  • striving,
  • disillusionment, and
  • radical acceptance.

You can see these 3 stages in the following video – the Fly…

In the video, striving is when the martial artist was trying to kill the flies, disillusionment was when he broke down in the futility of the struggle and radical acceptance was when he opened his hand. Even though you can see these stages linearly, they do not happen linearly, it is dynamic process (i.e. cycling through each of the stages).


Rethinking Progress

Therefore, progress with self-compassion practise is about refining the intention of practising. We choose to practise self-compassion for its own sake, not as an effort to change the moment-to-moment experience or to try to get to some other place. Mindful self-compassion practise is about dropping the idea of progress and embracing imperfections – accepting things just as they are. In his book, Meditation: Calming the MindBob Sharples, writes ~

“Don’t meditate to fix yourself, to heal yourself, to improve yourself, to redeem yourself; rather, do it as an act of love, of deep warm friendship to yourself. In this way there is no longer any need for the subtle aggression of self-improvement, for the endless guilt of not doing enough. It offers the possibility of an end to the ceaseless round of trying so hard that wraps so many people’s lives in a knot. Instead there is now meditation as an act of love. How endlessly delightful and encouraging.”


Radical Acceptance

I like the simplicity Tara Brach uses as she explains radical acceptance. She refers to the interconnectedness of mindfulness and compassion as radical acceptance. Brach uses the metaphor of a bird which has two wings – where one wing of the bird is clear seeing (i.e. mindfulness) and the other is our capacity to relate in a tender and sympathetic way to what we perceive (i.e compassion).

Over to You…

I hope this post has given you some insights in to the 3 stages of progress with mindful self-compassion. Is there anything else you would add? If so, please feel free to share your insights below.


If you are ready to reclaim your courage and take the next step towards freedom and opening your heartwhy not join our Toolkit?


Reference –

Brach, T. (2003). Radical Acceptance – Embracing Your Life with the Heart to the Buddha. New York, USA: Random House.


Leave A Response

* Denotes Required Field