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Expanding Compassion

The Real Me Tree

Expanding Compassion

The Real Me Tree

Learning Outcomes

Self-awareness

Materials Needed

Paper & Pen

Time it Takes

15 minutes

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Did You Know?

Helping young people foster a stronger sense of self allows them to live more authentically and with compassionate understanding toward themselves and others.

What?

A creative exercise encouraging participant(s) to reflect on who they are, where they come from and where they’re going.

Why?

Encouraging self-reflection helps participant(s) reveal their authentic selves and recognize that their realities change from moment to moment.

How?

Using the Real Me Tree Illustration or on a piece of paper, ask participant(s) to draw a tree with roots, a trunk, branches, and leaves. Begin by focusing on the roots of the tree. Ask participants to add words and statements that best describe their ‘roots.’ Use the following prompts:

  • I was born…
  • My first home was…
  • My family includes…
  • I remember…
  • I enjoyed…
  • I had difficulties with…

Move on to the ‘trunk’. Focus on the present and where each participant currently sees him or herself. Use the following prompts:

  • My core values are...
  • I face stigma when…
  • What gives me strength is…
  • I I feel most grateful when...
  • I am challenged when…
  • I feel compassion when…

Lastly, focus on the ‘leaves’, and have the participants envision where they want to be in the future. Use the following prompts:

  • I dream about…
  • I hope to…
  • I will help others by…
  • I believe in…
  • I want to advocate for…
  • It matters that I am…

Once the activity has concluded, participant(s) share their experience using the suggested conversation starters as a jumping off point.

Conversation Starters

  • What did you discover about yourself?
  • Self-compassion is very important as you witness your roots, trunk and leaves change. Share three affirmations which you can come up with over and over again to boost your confidence so that your inner critic doesn’t hold you back and limit your potential.

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