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Blair’s Glossary for Learning Self-Compassion

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Blair’s Glossary for Learning Self-Compassion and Awareness

Words and concepts to assist you with increasing your awareness and improving your life.


Here is a glossary I’ve developed to assist you with becoming more self-aware and improving your life. Awareness is the foundation of non-reactive living and limiting the amount of suffering that we experience. Thus, I developed this glossary to aid you in understanding how our minds work and give you some familiarity with the standard terms I use on this website, in my classes, and in coaching sessions. Please contact me here if you’d like to offer some comments, improvements, or questions.

  1. The ability to welcome reality as it is.
  2. The process of releasing our desire to change that which we can not change.
  3. The ability to receive our perceptions as data only and without influence from the bias our programming puts on it.

Acquired Reflex
A learned, instantaneous reaction that becomes automatic through repetition. For example, an Acquired Reflex is the classical conditioning of a specific reaction to a particular triggering event.

  1. Any thought patterns or processes, corresponding emotional patterns, physical movements, behaviors, and speaking that occur automatically from an emotional compulsion generated by thoughts.
  2. Anything that utilizes energy in our body.

or Attach, Cling, Crave, Desire, Glue, Hook, Anchor, Latched, Stuck, Charge, or Pressure
  1. 1.     Any Mental or Sensory trigger that affects the thoughts and emotions you experience.
    2.     The entanglement of self-interest with reality.
    3.     A belief that a person, place, thing, or idea will affect you in a positive or negative way.
    4.     Normal judgments that our brains assign to threats or benefits to our Physical Survival or our Sense of Survival.
    5.     Basing your emotional well-being on a predetermined outcome.
    6.     A state where something owns us and our emotional stability.
    7.     Being stuck to an idea, emotion, or object.

or Acquired Reflex, Conditioning, Habitual, Programming
Automatic thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that arise after a triggering event.
See also: Emotions, Behaviors, Feelings, Programs, Thoughts, Trigger

or Mindfulness, Paying Attention, Recognizing, Presence, Self-observation
  1. Staying present to all your thoughts and triggers happening within your experience.
  2. Conscious recognition of the thoughts, emotions, feelings, behaviors, actions, activities, and situations you are experiencing while also noticing the additional layers of thoughts about your initial conscious recognition.
  3. Watching events happening to yourself as if you were watching someone else while staying detached from your body’s reactions to the experiences as you watch them.

or Actions, Reactions
The physical actions one takes automatically or intentionally after a triggering event.
See also: Actions, Trigger

or Thoughts
Mental concepts or thoughts your brain holds as real, true, or factual.

or Evaluation, Judgment
  1. The determination of where a sensory input, situation, or thought resides on a scale between good or bad or right or wrong, or help me hurt me.
  2. The Automatic determination your mind generates on every stimulus you experience.
Biases can often be recognized by the emotions they generate.

Binary Thinking
or Survival Thinking
  1. The human brain’s tendency to think in dead or not dead opposites.
  2. The human brain’s tendency to think in polar opposite terms such as Good/Bad, Right/Wrong, Help Me/Hurt Me, Win/Lose, Black/White, Zero/One.
See also: Brain

Binary Thinking
or Survival Thinking
1.     The human brain’s tendency to think in dead or not dead opposites.
2.     The human brain’s tendency to think in polar opposite terms such as Good/Bad, Right/Wrong, Help Me/Hurt Me, Win/Lose, Black/White, Zero/One.
See also: Brain

  1. An organ inside of your skull comprised of numerous specialized sections for processing sensory information to aid in your survival.
  2. Committee members and subcommittees who communicate with each other through pathways or wires.

Brain Wires
or Brain Pathways
  1. The biological connections between sections of your brain.
  2. The biological connections between committees, subcommittees, and their members.

or Balanced, Detached, Equanimous, Grounded, Present, Settled, Stilled
  1. The ability to stay detached from your mental reactions and corresponding feelings to the internal or external stimuli you are experiencing.
  2. You can think and perceive reality, breathe regularly, and present a compassionate response to events in your life.
  3. You are not in survival mode (fight, flight, freeze, grab, hold).

Dividing significant mental constructions and physical actions into smaller pieces to manage solutions in parts.

Classical Conditioning
or Acquired Reflex, Instictive Reflex
  1. The process of learning specific reactions to triggers.
  2. The intentional process to teach yourself desired reactions to specific triggers.
See below for an example of the process.
    • A happens + B happens = C reaction.
    • Eventually, A & B become correlated so tightly in the brain that just A happening will cause reaction C without even needing B.
    • For example, Pavlov rings a bell (A) and immediately presents food to his dog (B). The dog’s reaction is to begin salivating (C). After enough repetitions, when Pavlov rings the bell (A), the dog starts salivating (C) even without food being presented (B).
    • Your boss looks angry (A) and yells at you (B).
    • Your reaction is to worry that you will lose your job (C).
    • After seeing this happen several times, if you see your boss looking angry (A), you feel worried he will fire you (C) even if your boss is not looking at you.

or Parts, Sections, Voices
The brain is not a single organ—instead, it has at least 250 separate and individual sections with a specialty and instructions on how to use its specialty to favor the physical survival of the body or sense of survival of the mental construct.

Committee Block
or Ego Block
Momentarily forgetting what you were going to say or what you were thinking.

Concern for the well-being of others.
See also: Self-Compassion

Compassionate Communication
Thinking, feeling, acting, and communicating with understanding, wisdom, and grace.

Information that is transmitted and received via any manner—words, voice inflection, facial expressions, body language, breathing noise, our internal thoughts, etc.
See also: Thoughts

The intentional act of performing a ritual for enjoyment while consciously or subconsciously thinking, such as a hobby, exercising, or watching a sunset.

  1. The process of allowing a sensory experience or a thought to occur without believing, personalizing, or identifying with it.
  2. The conscious awareness that one is experiencing thoughts, feelings, or behaviors and observing those stimuli without forming an attachment to them.
  3. Knowing you are okay no matter what changes or experiences happen to you.
  4. Experiencing mental, emotional, and physical stimuli and also noticing the automatic judgments your brain forms about the stimuli while letting go of any influence from the various stimuli.

The discipline of judging an experience or situation so that you, and hopefully others, suffer the least.
See also: Judgment, Suffering

or Blur, Cloud, Deform, Obscure, Twist, Warp
  1. An inaccurate perception of reality that influences your thinking, thought patterns, feelings, and behaviors.
  2. Thoughts that are biased to benefit yourself or your sense of survival.
  3. An explanation of an experience or a situation our brain builds from incomplete information.

  1. Mental reactions in your brain that generate physical sensations or feelings in the body, such as happiness, sadness, anger, fear, etc.
  2. Sensations that generate psychological and behavioral changes in the body.

Emotional Stacking
Feeling an emotion, then feeling another emotion in reaction to the initial feeling.
  • Behavior Stacking - A subconscious action that generates another subconscious action in reaction to the initial action.  
  • Thought Stacking - The process of having an initial thought and then allowing that thought to take over the subsequent thoughts, etc.

Emotional Weight
or Emotional Bias, Emotional Charge
The positive or negative sensations and feelings that emotions generate in your body.
  • Positive Feelings - Shifts your mind into Grab, Hold mode; also referred to as Clinging or Grasping.
  • Negative Feelings - Shifts your mind into Fight, Flight, or Freeze mode; also referred to as Defensive or Protective.

Emotionally Blind
or Blinded by Emotions
  1. The inability to think logically or reasonably when you are experiencing emotions.
  2. The inability of the mind to recognize possibilities when under pressure from intense feelings.
  3. The focus of your Survival Mind for relieving the pressures generated by advantages or disadvantages to your Sense of Survival.

Emotional Meaning
or Meaning, Perception, Personal Reality
The experience of our thoughts about a situation combined with our emotions generated by those thoughts.

Emotional Shifting
or Redirected Emotion
The process of changing the emotional meaning of a situation to create unrelated meanings. For example, you feel angry about a work situation, then take that anger out on an innocent party such as a loved one.

Emotional Target
  1. The object, person, or situation you feel like caused your reactions.
  2. The object, person, or situation upon which you release your emotional reaction.
See also: Reaction

or Conscious Living, Living in Reality
  1. The ability to stay present mentally, emotionally, and physically to reality as it is.
  2. The ability to see beyond how you feel in the present moment, keep your mind open to possibilities and choose to act in a way that navigates the situation so that you (and others) suffer the least.
  3. One who practices awareness or conscious living is said to be awake to their life or enlightened.

or Bias, Judgment
1.     The determination of where a sensory input, situation, or thought resides on a scale between good or bad or right or wrong, or help me hurt me.
2.     The Automatic determination your mind generates about every stimulus you experience.
Evaluations can often be recognized by the emotions they generate.

  1. A type of thought.
  2. An attachment to a particular outcome.
See also: Attachment, Thoughts

Feeding the Emotion
or Feeding the Monster, Fueling the Fire
  1. Subconsciously giving your energy to a distorted thought, emotion, or behavior by allowing it to take control of your subsequent thoughts, emotions, and actions.
  2. Repeating a thinking process, emotional reaction, or physical action to increase or maintain the emotional weight of a situation.

Implied Meaning
The emotional weight of a message that hints at more profound information not in the message directly.

or Habitual, Normal, Usual
A consistent or regular thought pattern or behavioral action that you perform after specific triggers you experience.

  1. The way you think of yourself.
  2. A sense of self.
  3. Who you believe you are.
See also: Attachment, Personalization

The physical sensations you experience when a subconscious or conscious thought you have is favored or threatened.
See also: Emotions. Thoughts

Instinctive Reflex
Instantaneous, unlearned reactions to a survival-related situation.

Joy, Peace, and Contentment or JPC
or Bliss, Equanimity, JCP, Nirvana, Peace of Mind
  1. A mental state void of emotional disturbance.
  2. The state of subtle pleasure that fills your daily life when you train yourself to have an open mind that lets go of attachments to autopilot thoughts, emotions, and actions that arise with every experience.

or Bias, Evaluation
  1. The determination of where a sensory input, situation, or thought resides on a scale between good or bad or right or wrong, or help me hurt me.
  2. The Automatic determination your mind generates on every stimulus you experience.
Judgments can often be recognized by the emotions they generate.

Letting Go
or Detaching, Releasing
  1. Allowing the emotions you experience from your mental reactions to weaken so that you suffer the least.
  2. Releasing the pressure you experience to control something.
  3. Freeing yourself from the internal drive you feel to change reality or something which you dislike.
  4. Separating our true self from the thoughts and emotions our survival mind experiences after a trigger.
See also: Attachment, Suffering, Survival Mind, Trigger

Limbic System
  1. A foundational part of the Survival Mind for generating rewards and punishments to perceived triggers.
  2. A set of brain structures above the spinal cord that supports functions like long-term memory, emotions, reactions.
  3. A foundational part of the physical brain that aids in survival.
    • The limbic system has no capacity for logical, rational, or reasoning thought.
    • The limbic system can recognize patterns.
    • The limbic system generates all of the emotions you experience.
    • The limbic system can retrieve the memory of anything that has ever happened to you.

Magic Pill
or Magic Switch
A desired fix or problem solution with minimal effort from you.

  1. The sense of consciousnesses you experience as a result of your brain’s committees working together.
  2. The sense of you that you experience.
See also: Brain, Committee

  1. A discipline of practicing awareness, acceptance, and letting go while being present with your reality in a controlled environment.
  2. Noticing your mind’s thoughts, thought processes and patterns, automatic mental reactions, emotional experiences, and your body’s experiences.
  3. A mental exercise to become familiar with your mind and how it reacts to triggers, processes information, and responds to thoughts.
  4. Practicing being alone with your mind.
  5. Guiding your mind’s activities with Self-Discipline and Self-Compassion.
  6. A mental practice of cultivating your mind’s responses to triggers.
Some Types of Meditation:
  • Focused Awareness Meditation – Concentrating on a sensory experience, a sacred word, or mantra. The process of intentionally concentrating on a sensory experience such as your breath, thought process, or state of mind while simultaneously noticing when you lose your concentration and then ently bringing your attention back to your point of focus.
  • Open Awareness Meditation – Keeping your mind open to all sensory inputs and thoughts without concentrating on any specific information; Instead, you are just watching the information pass through your mind. Open Awareness Meditation is similar to a birdseye view of a city; it is watching an entire city from above without focusing on one person or car.
  • Centering Prayer – A hybrid type of Focused Awareness and Open Awareness Meditations where you focus on a sensory experience until your mind settles into open awareness, then you stop concentrating on the sensory experience and experience open awareness until you notice your mind begins thinking again. Once you see that thoughts have replaced your open awareness, you refocus on your sensory experience until you are grounded and can switch to open awareness.
  • Compassionate or Loving Kindness Meditation – Concentrating one’s mind on broadcasting love, compassion, and positive thoughts to all or a specific group of people.  

or Awareness, Presence
The practice of conscious awareness and being present with your thoughts, emotions, and physical experiences.
See also: Awareness

Mental Constructions
or Mental Concepts, Mental Object
The formation of thoughts into models of reality that seem and feel real.
See also: Reality, Thoughts

Negativity Bias
  1. The Survival Mind’s tendency to give more importance to stimuli that harm your physical survival and sense of survival.
  2. The Survival Mind’s inclination to dwell on negative stimuli.

or Acceptance without Attachment, Nonattached
  1. The ability to notice triggers without forming an attachment, identifications, or personalizations to the mental and emotional reactions your brain experiences.
  2. The skill of accepting the meaning our brain puts on an experience without believing it to be accurate or untrue.
  3. E.g., “It was just an experience.”
  4. The practice of not being fixated or stuck to an idea, emotion, or object.

Physical affliction or discomfort caused by physical injury or illness.
See also: Suffering

The thoughts and beliefs your mind forms around a sensory experience to explain and interpret the sensory experience.
See also: Sensory Input

or sleep on it, simmer on it, rest in it, allow things to settle, allow it to soak in, process it
  1. Allowing your mind to process thoughts or situations over some extended time.
  2. Having the patience to allow your mind to search through the data it has collected and bring forth the best solution for a situation or thought.
See also: Unfold

or Being Present, Presence
  1. The deliberate practice of keeping one’s thoughts in the current moment and aware.
  2. The intentional act of bringing your mind back to now after it drifts off to memories or the future.
See also: Awareness, Meditation

Personal Reality
or Your Truth, Your Experience, Your Perceptions
  1. Your perception of a situation or experience.
  2. The differences between your sensory experience of a situation and the situation as it genuinely happened.
Your reality or perception is distorted by your memories, experiences, knowledge, thoughts, and emotions. Your personal reality is not usually reality as it is.
See also: Perception, Reality

  1. The experience of mentally owning an event or object as a reflection of oneself or identity.
  2. The process of identifying with an emotion, object, or situation as an expression of yourself.

or Programming
  1. The beliefs, perceptions, rules, and thoughts you learned and were taught by your experiences, especially from your upbringing.
  2. Thoughts and brain activity that distort your perception of reality.

  1. Reaction - Series of thoughts (mainly memories of previous similar events) that generate feelings that compel us to actions usually based on fight, flight, freeze, grab & hold.
  2. An automatic action, behavior, speech pattern, or thought process triggered by a sensory experience or thought.
  3. An autopilot response to a trigger.

  1. A situation as it is without interpretation or perspective.
  2. The world, situations, or experiences as agreed upon by all participants involved.
  3. The laws of nature.
  4. The rules governing a situation.
  5. Your thoughts, feelings, and actions as you experience them and without distortions by your mind’s mental reactions and judgments.
  • Objective Reality
    • Reality as it is irrespective of interpretations. Examples are mathematical equations or the laws of nature.
  • Shared Reality
    • Interpretations of data agreed upon by all parties involved.
  • Personal Reality
    • Interpretations of data that one individual believes.

Choosing to experience a situation focused on the advantages you’ll receive from it instead of the suffering you will endure during it.

The ability to consciously notice the thoughts, emotions, and behaviors you are experiencing while also recognizing the automatic stories and judgments of right or wrong or good or bad or win or lose that your mind puts on that which you notice.

or Internal Dialogue, Monologue, Voices
Your internal thoughts and autopilot reactions or conscious responses to your thoughts.

  1. Unconditional acceptance of yourself.
  2. Concern for the well-being of your mental, emotional, and physical self.
  3. Loving yourself the way you genuinely want to be loved, treating yourself the way you genuinely want to be treated, and caring for yourself in the way you wish to experience care.
  4. Allowing your core values to guide your life.
  5. Being truthful with yourself even in the midst of uncomfortable thoughts and emotions.
  6. Allowing yourself time to process, space to breathe, and room to ground yourself, so you feel stable and solid.
  7. Caring for yourself even when you feel it is inconvenient.
  8. Accepting reality as it is.
  9. The Self-Discipline to practice Awareness, Acceptance, and Letting Go.
  10. Detaching who you are from how you feel.
  11. Being truthful with yourself.
  12. Non-interference with our conditioned thoughts and emotions.

Self-Compassionate Activity
or Contemplation, Event, Ritual
  1. An exercise, hobby, or action that you take to slow your brain or body reactions down to give yourself time to process and navigate the experience with the least amount of suffering.
  2. A discipline, event, or ritual that you repeat for dedicating space and time that create meaning and contentment in your life.

The practice of keeping one’s mind and activities focused on your primary goal in a situation.

Sense of Survival
  1. Thoughts and feelings that one perceives as needed to survive, be comfortable, and feel happiness.
  2. Necessary feelings for a fulfilling and meaningful life.
A sense of Survival is made up of these three themes:
  • Sense of Affection and Approval - The thoughts, beliefs, and feelings that one is accepted by oneself or by others in a way that one desires.
  • Sense of Safety and Security - The thoughts, beliefs, and feelings that one is safe from threat in a way that one desires.
  • Sense of Power and Control - The thoughts, beliefs, and feelings that one has power and control over a situation in a way that one desires.

Sensory Input
Any information that you gather from your five senses: eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and skin and experienced as sight, sound, smell, taste, or touch.

  1. The thoughts, beliefs, ideas, and behaviors you hold closest to your heart, core values, or authentic self.
  2. Who you really, Really, REALLY are and what you really, Really, REALLY want in and for your life.
See also: True Self

Multiple individual brain sections formed into groups with similar goals.
See also: Brain, Committee

  1. Mentally generated discomfort.
  2. Anytime that you emotionally feel negative.
  3. Resistance to situations that don’t meet your expectations.
  4. Physical affliction caused by mental or emotional injury or illness.
  5. Any physical sensations from emotions that you experience as unpleasant, uncomfortable, or negative.
  6. Mental and Emotional Pain.
Suffering has three forms:
Necessary or Required Suffering
Unpleasant thoughts and feelings that your brain generates from a given situation, such as grieving the loss of a loved one.
Unnecessary, Optional, Programmed Suffering
Unpleasant-feeling thoughts and feelings that your brain generates by reactions to distorted perceptions of your Sense of Survival.
Intentional Unnecessary Suffering
or Purposeful Suffering
Unpleasant-feeling thoughts and emotions that your brain generates, and you consciously recognize, and you choose to endure these discomforts to achieve your desired outcome.

The state of being not dead.
  1. Physical Survival
    1. The process of keeping your physical body unharmed and not dead.
  2. Sense of Survival
    1. Thoughts about yourself, which you automatically perceive as needed to survive, be comfortable, and feel happiness.

Survival Mind
or Ego, Sense of Self
  1. Your sense of self.
  2. Your brain’s conscious and subconscious parts that generate your reactions or try to influence your conscious responses to real or perceived threats and advantages by shifting the brain into Survival Mode.
The Survival Mind:
  • Has no capacity for logical, rational, or reasoning thought.
    • The closest it gets to logical thought is recognizing patterns or similarities.
  • Has complete and virtually instant access to every memory or experience you have formed from your Sensory Input and thoughts.
  • Activates all your emotions.

Survival Mode
The autopilot and usually subconscious reactionary process the Survival Mind uses for adapting to a physical advantage or threat or perceived mental advantage or threat.
The Survival Mind has three reactions:
  • Positive Feeling - Shifts our minds into Grab, Hold mode; also referred to as Clinging or Grasping.
  • Negative Feeling - Shifts our minds into Fight, Flight, or Freeze mode; also referred to as Defensive or Protective.
  • Indifference - The mind perceives no advantage or threat to a trigger and thus generates no thoughts and corresponding emotional reactions.
Positive and Negative reactions shift the brain into:
  • Fight Mode - A thought, emotion, or action that is aggressive or defensive toward a Trigger that is perceived as threatening.
  • Flight Mode - A thought, emotion, or action that tries to remove you from a Trigger that is perceived as threatening.
  • Freeze Mode - A thought, emotion, or action that tries to hide from or not draw attention to a Trigger that is perceived as threatening.
  • Grab Mode - A thought, emotion, or action that tries to acquire a Trigger that is perceived as an advantage.
  • Hold Mode - A thought, emotion, or action that tries to keep a Trigger that is perceived as an advantage for as long as possible.

The Formula for My Life or TFFML
A straightforward way to describe how we create our lives from our thoughts.
    • The formula is:
My thoughts generate my emotions.
My emotions compel my actions.
My actions create my life.

  1. Any brain activity.
  2. Any communication between committee members.
See also: Brain, Committee
Here is a partial list of names for thoughts:

Thought Patterns
  1. The way your brain thinks, and that you learned from experiences and, especially, your upbringing.
  2. A mental action that follows brain pathways built on experiences.
See also: Action, Brain Wires

or Triggering Event, Push Your Button, Goad You, Wind-you Up
  1. Sensory Inputs and thoughts that start new thoughts and pull your attention away from the present.
  2. Anything that shifts your mind into exclusive focus on your survival or your sense of survival’s desired outcome.

True Self
or Core Values, Authentic Wants, Authenticity
1.      The traits or qualities which represent you personally.
2.     The aspects of yourself that you deem as most important and hold the highest value for your personal meaning.

Allowing a situation or a series of events to arrange itself by releasing your sense of control over the outcome.

I originally developed this glossary for the classes I was teaching at a U.S. Army base. It has expanded to be invaluable for all the classes I teach and the clients I coach. My goal is to provide you with some tools to make your thoughts, conversations, and life go smoothly. Once you learn Awareness, Self-Compassion, and utilize my Communication Guidelines, possibilities will open up for you. You’ll also learn how to navigate situations with the least amount of suffering. I am here to be a guide for you as you move forward. Call me at 720-789-4000 or contact me here, and we can work through your situation together.
I believe in you.

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Blair Ashby
Teaching and Coaching Self-Compassion
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©2023 Broadlands Media, Inc
All rights reserved.
Blair Ashby
Teaching and Coaching
I will not transfer or sell your data to anyone.
Please read the full disclosure here.

©2022 Broadlands Media, Inc
All rights reserved.
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