Self-Compassion: Right Or Reward?
Self-Compassion is tricky for many, who have long understood self-love as that thing you earn once you have done enough in the world. Think about it. Do you have a free invitation to your heart, or do you feel more like you are waiting out in the cold, staring our your heart’s door, wishing someone would open it? I hear this all the time in my office. “Maybe love is just not for me.” “It is so much easier to love other people than it is to love myself.” “If I am being honest, self-compassion sounds good, but what if it’s impossible for me?”
If this sounds like you, know that you are not alone. This question has plagued people for thousands of years. Am I better off working myself to the bone with the promise that one day I will give myself love and acceptance as a reward, or can I really give myself love and acceptance now, and still achieve a meaningful and successful life? People honestly believe that withholding love is the key to motivation, and let me tell you why.
In the previous generations, love is something that you were given, when you were respectful, accomplished your housework, and made your family proud. Their lives, and the lives of their parents and grandparents were very hard, and our sense of parenting often mirrors the social climate of our time. Hard life. Hard parenting. Life is also difficult and unpredictable sometimes, which compels us to fantasize about a self that is hard, harder than the suffering, and we believe this hardness comes from tough love. So, we apply what we have learned from our models, and our fantasies to our self.
Too Much Tough Love
This is where the phrase, “No one is harder on me than I am,” comes from. And, as you are reading this, you may even hold this phrase and belief system in high esteem. In fairness, you come by these views naturally, but what we know is that if you hold a muscle, thought, or feeling with too much hardness for too long that injury and illness will prevail. Some part of us knows that self-compassion can help us heal. The same part of us that finds someone to comfort us, when we are truly unwell, as opposed to someone, who will punish us, and make our condition worse.
Quick Visualization To Unlock The Door To Your Heart
We are going to take a calculated risk to make sure the door to your heart is always open, warm, and stocked with memories and know-how that help you feel good about your life even when things are difficult.
I want you to imagine yourself on the cold street. Imagine a building, a house, or even a castle. Inside lies your heart, and self-compassion. Notice the door. What color is the door? What does the handle look like? Is there a light on? As you contemplate these questions, notice how you feel in your body right now. Where do you feel most tense? Now, I want you to think of a very warm place, perhaps an island somewhere, or a fireplace. Concentrate on the heat. Notice, where you feel this heat, and send it upwards, and downwards until you are nice and toasty. Now, remember the door, and send the heat towards the door. Notice the door unlock, and welcome you in. Notice how your body feels now. Embrace your newfound sense of relaxation and comfort.
Remember that you did this. No matter where you are, what you have done, or what you are going through, you always have the power to let yourself in. Based on your body’s positive response, I would urge you to let yourself in as often as possible for your well-being, and the well-being of those you care about most.
365 Days Of Self-Compassion. Day 185. In The Books.