Contemplative Practices to Build Self-love and Self-compassion

I often teach two specific forms of Buddhist contemplative practice, Metta (the pali word for lovingkindness) and Karuna (the pali word for compassion.) The Metta practice I teach is geared toward developing lovingkindness toward ourselves. The Karuna practice is geared toward developing self-compassion. They are very similar ideas, but slightly different practices. And some people prefer one practice over the other.

They are practices where you speak specific phrases over and over again, either aloud, or in your head. They have been transformative for me, and have been shown to have lasting positive affects in our bodies, such as increasing vagus nerve activity and changing the thickness of the brain in areas related to emotional regulation. I have modified these practices - the practices I teach focus just on ourselves, because it can often be easy to skip past ourselves and focus on others. I've also modified the classical words somewhat, to focus more on some of the ways we as trans and gender expansive folks struggle.

My metta practice:

For me, Metta practice in particular has been transformative. I spent a year doing Metta meditation every day, and it completely changed the way I approached myself, and spoke to myself, and treated myself. Many people I have worked with have had similar experiences.

Here are two audios, one of the Metta practice, and one of the Karuna practice. Let me know what you think!