Photo of woman who could be doing a guided meditation for kindness.

Guided Meditation for Kindness: Widening Your Lens

In Mindfulness & Meditation, Self-Care by Courtney ArcherLeave a Comment

If you have a hard time moving forward from your mistakes, first of all, you are not alone. Second of all, this guided meditation for kindness is for you.

We all know on some cerebral, logical level that we have to make mistakes to progress and grow. Few successes are had without some, even many, failures along the way. We know this.

And yet, it is also unfailingly common for us to respond to our own mistakes with derision and scorn. You would be hard-pressed to find a person who is not an absolute champion of tearing themselves down.

Why? Why do we do this?

It has a little something to do with biology, with the way our brains work, and with the ways we grew up. Some of us were taught to move on from failure, while some of us were taught to be held captive by it. Every time we failed, we learned something from it.

After all, we are not stupid. Our brains are incredible at taking information in and categorizing it so we do not have to learn the same things later. But sometimes our brains categorize things in unhelpful ways.

That is where this guided meditation for kindness comes in. Sometimes we need to remind our brains that there is another way to do things.

Guided Meditation for Kindness: Widening Your Lens

Why Do Our Brains Do This?

Anyone who has experienced trauma knows a little something about how good our brains are of keeping track of random details to keep us safe. These random details are triggers–things that throw our brain into a state of fight/flight/freeze without any warning. Triggers can be anything from the slamming of a door to the sound of a gunshot.

When something emotionally or physically painful happens to us, our brains take note. The more painful and often the experience, the more notes our brains take. Our brains do this to keep us safe so that we can recognize danger in the future and avoid it.

However, sometimes gunshots are really just cars backfiring, and doors slam from carelessness more often than they do from anger. It is when our brains cannot distinguish between danger and safety that things start to get uncertain. Other triggers can be even more problematic.

For example, many of us are triggered by behaviors from other people. Remember, harm can be emotional and mental as much as physical. Along the path of figuring out what is and is not safe, we discover that some people are not safe.

It is important to recognize that some people and situations are not safe. And it is important to be able to recognize when your brain is not correctly categorizing people and situations because of past interactions and experiences. It is true that “all that glitters is not gold,” but it is also true that all that triggers is not pain.

This guided meditation for kindness will help you begin to differentiate, but if you have experienced trauma I also highly recommend pursuing therapy. Specifically, EMDR, which helps your brain reprocess your trauma so that you can stop living it over and over.

In the meantime, mindfulness and meditation will help you to move towards responding in a way that you would like to, rather than reacting with fight/flight/freeze so often.

How Can We Overcome Our Brains?

So how do we tell the difference? How can we train our brains to view things outside of the negative lens that our brain uses to protect us?

The secret is in the word “train” there. The goal is not to replace the instinct for safety–that is there for a reason and very important. Rather, the goal is to open up our view to be able to see other things.

You have probably heard the phrase “tunnel vision” regarding the way some people just cannot seem to see anything outside of their perspective. Well, folks, we all have it to some degree or another because we all have brains that are hyper-focused on keeping us safe. The way to challenge tunnel vision is to start broadening your perspective.

In order to get your brain to start seeing other things, you have to set and follow through with an intention to see more. A great way to do this is with some kind of gratitude practice.

The easiest gratitude practice is to record a certain number of things you are grateful for each day. Make it specific (i.e. my sister instead of family, or the taste of cinnamon in oatmeal instead of food). This is a great start, and you can deepen the practice at an incredible level if you also write down why it is that you are grateful for that thing and how it makes you feel(i.e. my sister because she takes the time to call me and that makes me feel loved).

As you train yourself to notice the good you will not just stop seeing the bad, but the bad will not have as much control over your life anymore.

How Will a Guided Meditation for Kindness Help?

Have you ever noticed that your response to stressful situations sometimes (or often) involves tearing yourself down? You might find yourself thinking something like, “Why am I so stupid?” Or, “I always mess everything up.”

This is your brain trying to keep you from making the same mistakes. However, it is also your brain eroding your motivation and making it difficult to move forward.

Much like a gratitude practice helps your brain widen its perspective, this guided meditation for kindness will help broaden your appreciation of yourself. Life has plenty of people who will tell you no and that you are not good enough–it does not help you to be one of them.

This guided meditation for kindness is meant to give you an opportunity to open up some space for yourself. Out of all the people who can tell you that you are worthwhile, the one who will make the biggest difference is yourself.

How to Prepare for This Guided Meditation

When preparing for a guided meditation, generally you want to be as distraction-free as possible. Typical distraction-free places tend to be bedrooms, bathrooms, and closets. Sometimes even vehicles can be a good place to try some meditating if it is pretty simple.

This guided meditation is a bit of a longer one and requires some intensive reflection, so it is recommended to find a place to be alone where you can focus for about 15 minutes.

Wherever you are, take a few deep breaths to help settle your mind. If you can, straighten your spine so that you are not slumped or slouched. Close your eyes, or focus your vision on one spot so that you are not distracted by the world around you. Breathe, breathe, and begin.

Guided Meditation for Kindness


As you breathe, notice the way your lungs expand with each in-breath and contract with each out-breath. In and out, expand and contract, in and out.

Realize, as you breathe, that your lungs do this every moment of every day without any encouragement or complaint. Even if your lungs are affected by asthma or COPD, they still breathe for you day in and day out. Even if you require additional oxygen, it is your lungs that make sure it gets into your bloodstream.

Whatever your lung capacity is, your lungs do everything they can to breathe and get oxygen where it needs to go.

Take a moment, as you breathe, to feel gratitude for your lungs and the work that they do. Extend that gratitude out to the other organs that keep your body functioning.

Your heart. The way it pumps your blood through your body, carrying the oxygen from your lungs. Not just oxygen, but also proteins and sugar.

Perhaps you can bring your sense of gratitude to your brain next. For the way it organizes observations and experiences into information and memories. Without your brain you would never grow or progress.

Ponder for a moment what other organs you might feel grateful to. Not just grateful for, but grateful to, because of the life they have allowed you to live. Even if they do not function properly, even if they are not what you wish them to be, you would not be at all without them.

Take some time, as you breathe, to consider the way your body works so hard to provide life for you. Allow your feeling of gratitude to evolve into a feeling of kindness toward this body that has endured so much.

Allow yourself, for just a moment, to love this body that you live in.


Return your attention to your breath. If your thoughts have wandered away from this meditation, that is alright. Return them now, and ponder for a moment how extraordinary it is that you have the ability to think.

What a wonderful ability it is, to be able to think about things and process them. Your thoughts have wandered during this meditation because there is so very much to think about, and that is alright. Now that your attention has come back, allow yourself to feel some gratitude that you are able to think.

Even if your thoughts may lead down dark paths at times, they also have the power to lead you toward the light. Toward greater understanding, toward solutions and hope. Your thoughts are one of the most powerful tools you have.

Allow yourself to be grateful that you have this ability to think, to process, to grow.

Along with the power of your thoughts, recognize the power of your emotions. They are two halves of a whole, thoughts and emotions. You have them both; you are whole.

Consider the things your emotions allow you to learn–when something is good and when it is not, when you are okay and when you are not.

Your emotions can be overwhelming at times, just like your thoughts. Respect your emotions; they are just as powerful as your thoughts. And for a moment, allow yourself to be grateful that you can feel.

That you can love as well as hate, that you can find joy as well as sorrow, that your life has highs as well as lows.

Emotions guide you through every experience, through every phase. Allow yourself to be kind toward your emotions and thoughts. They are the part of you that ensures the ability to move forward.


Return your attention to your breath once more. Breathe, in and out, and acknowledge the pain that comes with growth and forward movement.

You have already grown so much during your journey through this life, and you have felt the pain that accompanied that growth. Acknowledge that such growth would not be possible in the same way without the pain that came alongside.

Not only that, but your ability to tolerate and allow pain and discomfort is what has truly moved you forward. Your ability to recover after being dealt difficult hands has led you here, to where you are today.

Allow yourself, for just this moment, to experience gratitude for your ability to feel pain. To know when something has gone wrong, and for the motivation to make things better.

You would not be who you are without the pain and discomfort you have experienced. And if you believe that who you are still needs some work, that is alright. You are not done living, after all.

You are not done growing. Allow yourself to be kind as you grow. To be kind toward the pain you feel, instead of struggling against it.


Return your attention to your breath for a final few moments. Breathe in kindness toward yourself and the life that you have experienced. Breathe out kindness toward the life that is still ahead of you and the experiences yet to come.

Feel the warmth of your gratitude, the comfort of your kindness, and continue to breathe.

Breathe in kindness for your past and your present. Breathe out kindness for your present and future.

They are all tied together in this life you have to live. Breathe, and live.

I hope this guided meditation for kindness has helped you build some kindness toward yourself. Being kind to ourselves is a challenge we all face at one time or another. What is an area in your life where you would like to increase your kindness toward yourself?

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