Jolene Mai   •   January 14, 2021

How to Pour Yourself A Cup of Compassion

During my undergrad years at UCI, I double-majored in Psychological Science and Education—and I loved it. I took a class called Positive Psychology, which examined the strengths that allow humans to lead fulfilling lives. Empathy, mindfulness, happiness, resilience, purpose. These loaded terms brought to mind a plethora of real-life heroes and friends. And quite honestly, they made me think harder about the qualities I wanted to fill my life with.

I subsequently enrolled in a class called The Science and Practice of Compassion. My professor, Dr. Paul Piff, defined compassion as the concern and interest to promote the well-being of others. Here’s the thing about compassion: science tells us it’s a basic skill. We can train ourselves to be more compassionate.

One of our guest lecturers, Dr. Eve Ekman (daughter of famous emotion researcher Dr. Paul Ekman [yes, I fangirled]), shared about the importance of self-compassion. You know the kind of care and attention you’ve so effortlessly given to others? It’s essential to show yourself the same love! You can’t pour from an empty cup.

Putting compassion into practice also includes choosing gratitude. It’s as easy as acknowledging one thing you’re thankful for today. Why gratitude? Not only does it reorient our life outlook, but it compels action: we’re more likely to share this feeling through kind, altruistic behavior. Fundamentally, this give-and-take helps us thrive as a community.

Journaling has always been my preferred way of expressing gratitude. As an avid collector of more journals than I can fill, I’ve always found it therapeutic (cathartic, if you will) to dump all my thoughts on paper until my hand aches. By then, the page will be riddled with ink smears, and I’ll proceed to scrub off the excess from my hand (my fellow lefties understand).

Dexterity issues aside, I realized my schedule only got busier. I wanted to practice self-compassion and gratitude regularly, yet each time I thought about allocating time to free-write, the time crunch felt unnatural and forced. Another time, I told myself. Instead, I’d just go months without any personal reflection.

That’s when I was introduced to line-a-day journaling, and it changed my life. Gosh, this sounds like a Jenny Craig ad. But truly, I love being able to capture the essence of each day. I love that line-a-day journaling supplements my love for long-form journaling. It doesn’t have to be an either-or practice. I’ll brain-dump when I want to, and I’ll jot down a sentence on the go.

If you’re a busy bee like me, I’m pretty excited you’re here. My team and I are stoked to share about our journaling app, Gold. Simply write one line a day about what you hope to remember most. As the UX Writer, I strived to craft meaningful journaling prompts inspired by psychological principles. Do give Gold a try, and let us know your thoughts!
May you remember to pour yourself a daily cup of compassion, and may you actively seek out the gold in each day. :)