We need self-compassion for transitions. Given our myriad responsibilities, we count on the areas of our life that we can control. We use these areas to come up with a schedule that ensures that our needs will get met, and that there will not be so many new changes that the stress we experience outweighs the well-being we receive. We become comfortable with these processes, and come to rely on them. They become automatic after a while, and require less and less from our body. This, in turn, maximizes the time we feel relaxed, empowered, and full of hope.
Transitions shake this very foundation. They require that we amend all of our rules to compensate for an entirely new set of questions and responsibilities that come with change. We begin to experience less well-being and much more stress. These new processes are not automatic, and take a toll on our body.
When we cannot quickly return to the well-being we have come to know, we become impatient, self-critical, and somewhat depressed. It becomes apparent that we need some self-compassion, if we are to have the resources necessary to get back to the state of ease we have known in the past. There is an old story about a cat and dog in a similar situation.
Cats And Dogs
Long before they were ever domesticated, dogs and cats lived in the unsettled world. Dogs enjoyed exploring their territory with great energy and abandon. Cats equally enjoyed exploring their territory, but did so with a slower pace, and a precise eye that delighted in the small wonders of life.
One dog and cat lived separately until spring arose, and frequent rainfall required them to hole up in a warm, and dry place. When they met, the cat argued that she should have the space. She said that she belonged to a wiser species that needed to keep dry, so that she could be available should the other animals require stealth and keen awareness to assess their safety from potential threats. The dog countered that the other animals needed him to be dry, so that he could be counted on to fetch food and bring up their spirits when necessary.
This arguing kept them up all night. They each said some hurtful things to try to persuade the other to leave. They expended so much energy that they fell asleep, while still arguing. When they awoke, the dog and the cat found themselves cuddled together. What’s more, they both felt better rested than they had in a long time. Together, they were warmer than they had been separately, and thus the cold, rainy mornings had less effect on them.
Meeting Transitions With Self-Compassion
When we are met with transitions, we have a tendency to put our defenses up, and resist change. We are absolutely sure that we have the best situation possible, and we are weary of any threats to our well-being. With a little self-awareness and some kindness, we often find that even though transitions are difficult, they often leave us feeling more secure, successful, and happy. If you find it raining cats and dogs where you are, why not invite them in, and see if you are not better off for your efforts.
365 Days of Self-Compassion. Day 134. In The Books.