I recently watched a recording of a wonderful conversation between two of my all-time favorite teachers – Rick Hanson and Tara Brach. The conversation was about the importance of self-compassion – or as Rick puts it learning how to be on your own side.

During the conversation Tara shares this powerful insight

What does it really mean to live true to ourselves? [Not] in a selfish way, a grasping self, but true to our deepest self. It takes listening. It takes being very embodied. It takes a real attentiveness to sense, “What does the deepest part in my being most want to do, to express, to be?” And my experience has been when I’m being true to my deepest self, it doesn’t really cause harm to anybody. It actually serves the greatest good.

I love this question “What does the deepest part in my being most want to do, to express, to be?” and I also love Tara’s observation that when we are being true to the deepest part of ourselves our thoughts, words and actions serve the greatest good.

I know that when I manage to turn down the volume on those pesky voices in my head, and tune into sensing that deeper, wiser part of myself – I am far more likely to show up in ways that are aligned with my values and my deepest desire to be caring, warm-hearted and kind – towards myself and others.

When I become hooked by the stories in my head I can find myself drifting out of alignment with these core values and behaving in ways that are not reflective of my true nature. If I am really swept away by my thoughts and into a virtual-reality of my own making, I might yell at my kids, speak unkindly to my husband or pour myself a very large glass of wine. None of these actions serve the greatest good. None of them nourish me. All of them I later regret.

Self-fidelity Practice To Play With 

So, the small yet mighty self-fidelity practice I invite you to play with this week is to ask yourself the following question and to listen deeply to sense a response: What does the deepest, wisest part of my being most want to do, to express or to be in this moment?

Here are the few of the answers that have emerged for me when I have remembered to ask myself this question before I react from anger or frustration – or open the kitchen cupboard to look for a wine glass:

  • To take a deep breath
  • To be quiet
  • To cuddle another living being (of the human or canine variety)
  • To let go
  • To whole-heartedly accept my imperfections
  • To whole-heartedly accept the imperfections of my kids/husband/friends
  • To run a bath
  • To make a mug of tea
  • To choose to remain hopeful, despite the temptation to give up
  • To feel grateful for something good in my life right now
  • To trust in the goodness of others
  • To play the long game
  • To see the bigger picture
  • To remember that this too shall pass
  • To acknowledge that this is really hard
  • To cry
  • To put down the weight of my imagined aloneness


We have come as far as we have because we are the cleverest creatures to have ever lived on earth. But if we are to continue to exist, we will require more than intelligence. We will require wisdom.

David Attenborough