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Compassionate Attention

Compassionate attention refers to consciously directing our attention to notice and focus on things that our helpful to ourselves and to others — and to do this in a way that is helpful to ourselves and to others.

Compasionate attention involves connecting to a sense and motivation of caring toward ourselves and others. It doesn’t always mean focusing on positive things. (Source: Compassion Focused Therapy for Dummies by Mary Welford, 2016).

Compassionate attention doesn’t always involve focusing on positive things. It can involve bringing our attention to things that are painful, including things that it’s helpful for us to experience, process or work through. These painful things can be internal (such as our feelings and physical sensations) or external (such as the pain and suffering of someone else). —Mary Welford, Compassion Focused Therapy for Dummies2016, p. 129


Compassionate attention involves focusing on things with our compassionate mind. It may be helpful to think of attention as a spotlight, while compassion is the torch we choose to use. With practice, the can become a beneficial means of enhancing our wellbeing. —Mary Welford, Compassion-Focused Therapy for Dummies, 2016, p. 121, (emphasis in bold added by Tracy Riley)

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