Self Compassion

Word for the month: SELF COMPASSION

Self Compassion will be the word for this month. I’ll be posting quotes, reflections and resources in hopes to increase your awareness of and giving in to self compassion.

I woke Monday declaring it to be “My First Official Consistent Blogging Day”…and low and behold it is now Wednesday! This is a perfect example of a time to practice self compassion! I had no excuse of time or other commitments. My computer was working. The electricity was running! Yet, I couldn’t find my self at the computer…other than checking emails….and then paying bills and then petting the cat, then getting something to eat, and finally taking a really long nap! What was I doing?? I thought I was ready and gave myself that firm commitment and I am generally a reliable and committed person!

I was avoiding, obviously…even you could see that! But what was I avoiding? Here is where cultivating self compassion comes in because I could easily have started to beat my ‘self’ up for not having followed through, not keeping my promise to myself– something that can be very painful…how many of you have made new year’s resolutions that fell by the way side before day 3!! It doesn’t make one feel “good” and can lead to lots of disparaging thoughts and not so nice labeling of our selves.

But cultivating and practicing self compassion starts with curiosity not criticism. What was going on? Of course this is obvious to many of you…FEAR!

“Oh my goodness, why would I want to put my thought, potential wisdom and self out there where there is so much info already? How am I going to write when in 12th grade I had to write my final AP English paper 6 times before it was approved as an A (ha ha…that was so long ago yet it still passed through my head). How is my voice different than others out there writing about the same stuff….being your true self, living from your heart, becoming who you were meant to be for God? Who in the heck is ever going to read it?”

Okay, so I got curious and aware of what was happening. Now what? ACCEPT! Accept that all of what I was feeling was there BUT that it doesn’t have to BE me! Who doesn’t feel that stuff? And does it really matter? NO!!

Next in the cultivation of Self Compassion….ALLEVIATE! Alleviate the suffering, my anxiety, my doubts, my mind-made fears with some kindness, some love, some whispers of grace:

“What was going on was just going on. It wasn’t good or bad. It doesn’t mean I’m good or bad!! I’ve been following my “blue eggs” (the eggs in the basket that are blue, that are vibrating blue because God says, “do this one now.”) for so long that I know this is a blue egg…a God vibrating egg. Trust Him! God made me “me” and my voice is a bit different than any others as everyone’s is a bit different than every other. I have a heart to do what I am doing. Though I’ve never been known as a writer, I love to write. It is okay. Just share. Have fun. Go for it. Wednesday is a great day to have it be “My First Official Consistent Blogging Day”!”

And so here we go…..

Definition of COMPASSION: Sympathy for the suffering of others, often including a desire to help relieve their suffering

Synonyms and words often brought up with compassion:

  • Loving Kindness
  • Empathy
  • Mercy
  • Tenderhearted
  • Charity
  • Grace

Self Compassion

This was my word for last year. Every year I pick one word as an intention for the year–something I want to learn more about and incorporate in my life. I got to the end of the year and realized I still had lots to learn or, actually, appropriate into my life. The realization came during an exercise given in Brene Brown’s “GIFT OF IMPERFECTION” e-class, which I highly recommend (http://www.oprah.com/own-brene-brown-course/brene ). She asked us to look at past photos of our self and offer the person who we were in those photos “compassionate whispers”…to talk to ourselves like we would our best friend or someone we loved. EEKS. I had a really hard time! And I thought I had learned so much! A lesson in seeing that knowledge does not always lead to action or appropriation–making something our own, putting into practice…a big word I learned recently that made me understand why I could know something yet not be doing it. Anyone else understand this?

One definition of compassion is “suffering with”. Often we are very good at seeing others needs and wanting to meet them—this is compassion. Understanding another’s hurts and wanting to help seems more natural, and in some ways, more Godly than giving it to our ‘self’.

Do we give our ‘self’ compassion as much or as easily as we do for others?

On a spiritual path to maturity, we are to grow into becoming more God-like, to be a reflection of God, to walk in His ways. And God is compassionate. God is compassionate toward us….always!

(How thoughtful and synchronistic of God to have one of my favorite blogs talk about God’s Compassion. Go to www.BeStillBeFree.com to read and listen to a podcast on God’s compassion for us. I loved it!)

God is with us and in us which means we already have the ability to relieve our suffering if we receive it from God and accept it.

What would God say to you when you are suffering? What compassionate whispers would He say to you?

Do you receive and accept God’s compassion for you?

Do you trust His desire to relieve your suffering?

If you are Christian, can you see how He has, in such a big way, already relieved us of our suffering from sin, shame, condemnation and separation from Him?

Giving our ‘self’ compassion is not selfish. It is vital and it is God-like. There is that old saying that says if you want more love BE the love that you want. Be more loving to self and others and you will have more love!

We are to be compassionate with others, AND we can be compassionate with our “self”. We can only give to others what we have received and that includes compassion.

If you desire to be more accepting and compassionate of others, be more accepting and compassionate of your ‘self’. If you are not sure this is true, try it as an experiment this month…say loving things to yourself, accept whatever it is you are thinking, feeling, doing without judging it, without labeling it as good or bad. Try saying…”so that is what I’m feeling, doing, thinking.” Take it just as it is.

Do the Triple A….AAA:

Bring Awareness to what is going on at the moment that is causing the upheaval in your ‘self’. What am I feeling? What did I just do? What was I just thinking? What did I just say to myself? Come towards yourself with great curiosity and interest!

Then Accept what it is…just that it is and not who you are; no labeling or judging.

Then Alleviate with loving kindness…that it just was what it was and does not mean you will do it again or it will become or define who you are!

Speak to your ‘self’ like you would talk to someone you love, your best friend, or how God would speak to you. God is always kind, loving, forgiving, merciful, patient, your cheerleader, your comforter, your encourager…the guy who has a stadium full of angels watching your every move and cheering at everything….EVERYTHING…you do. You might score a touchdown, get a first down, fumble, lose 20 yards, have a penalty, or intercept and run 99 yards for a touchdown–they cheer at everything!!! Listen for them! What would they be saying?

I’ll end with something I heard recently about loving kindness or cultivating self compassion…

Be kind towards all qualities of your being. The qualities that are the toughest to be kind towards are the painful parts, where we feel ashamed, as if we don’t belong, as if we’ve just blown it, when things are falling apart for us. Loving kindness means sticking with ourselves when we don’t have anything, when we feel like a loser. And it becomes the basis for extending the same unconditional friendliness with others.

Whole Heartedly,

Barbara


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