On November 12, the University of Hawai‘i in Mānoa held a Self-Compassion Hour which is an introduction to positive attitude toward oneself in the midst of difficulties and self critical moments. Samuel Spencer, a doctoral student in the Clinical Studies Program in the Department of Psychology at UHM, led the hourlong virtual zoom meeting and taught basic principles of self-compassion and practices to start incorporating it, such as different types of meditations and a different mindset.

The Self-Compassion series was broken down into different mini, informal workshops. It has a short presentation including practices and a short discussion. The first two events were Oct. 1 and Oct. 29 . The last event was Nov. 12. During November’s session, there were 6 participants who joined. Si Woo and Jo Qina’au who made an appearance who both work for the Department of Psychology and presented at the first two events. 

Samuel Spencer is currently a doctoral student in the Clinical Studies Program at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa. (Photo by Samuel Spencer)

“I love soaking up knowledge and transferring it to someone who wants to receive it,” Spencer said during the Self Compassion Hour. “These principles of acceptance, mindfulness, cognitive behavioral therapy that I’m going to be talking about, these principles are not just something that therapists apply to clients in a mental health treatment setting, it’s applicable to people who are human beings. This talk is about the heart of what it means to be human.” 

Katrina Obleada, who is a candidate for the Graduate Student Organization (GSO), brought up the idea to hold this virtual event.

“Amid COVID-19, many graduate students, including myself, still experienced the same pressures to fulfill our multiple responsibilities, such as research, teaching, and classwork during this fall semester,” Obleada said.  ”I thought it would be a great idea to support these individuals by hosting an event through GSO that taught the basic principles and practices of self-compassion. I reached out to my colleagues in the Psychology department who specialize in this area through their research and work and asked them if they’d be interested in leading self-compassion sessions before the fall semester ends.” 

“Values and vulnerability are flip sides of the same coin,” Spencer said during the session.” You can’t truly pursue what you really care about without valuing your self-doubt, insecurity, or depression. Open up, treat those thoughts, and feelings as mental content. If you don’t have self compassion, you can’t be compassionate towards others.”