Tested Experience Vs. Predictions
Self-Compassion is important because it teaches us to discover how things are, how we experience them, and what real meaning they have for our lives. It is in this sense very scientific, personal, and at least for our purposes in the present, it is accurate. Predictions based on socially accepted information and the opinions of experts tend to be pretty inaccurate. I know this to be true because I have spent years seeing people, who come in for treatment, and feel like they have just been exposed to lightning for the very first time, when they learn that strength is not derived from a continuous sampling of difficult experiences.
Do Difficult Experiences Make You Stronger?
“Difficult experience does not make you tougher?” they query. “But, iron sharpens iron!” Difficult experience only makes you stronger, when it leads to self-understanding, self-acceptance, and self-compassion. Otherwise, it just takes minutes, hours, and perhaps years off of your life. Long-term consequences of a life lived with just difficult experiences include: pessimism, shame, lack of interest in adventure, tumultuous relationships, bad break-ups, injury, limited mobility, daily pain, heart attacks, ulcers, and strokes. I know. The tough guys in the movies seem to do alright, but you have to factor in that they are not real. Real people suffer mightily, when they try to live in a way that constantly brutalizes their mind and body.
We need self-compassion, self-understanding, and self-acceptance now, so that we can get through tough times because they are apart not the meaning of life. Am I advocating avoiding difficult experience? Absolutely not. If you love something or someone, I hope you pursue those things with every last ounce of your heart, acknowledging that there will be both tough and easy days, which are necessary to live a fulfilling life. But, you will only have the pain life doles out. You will not be adding to this suffering. That might seem like a small shift in your thinking, but it is an important one.
Getting Stronger With Self-Compassion
So, how can one pursue a life of self-acceptance, self-understanding, and self-compassion? You can do so simply by trying at every opportunity you get. We are built for mastery. We love to see great works of art, successful relationships, and thorough work. It is why these three factors draw people to the movies, to Youtube videos, and to the brilliance that is shared on social media.
If you do your best to be self-compassionate, when difficulty arises, you will slowly build a stronger skillset for self-compassion. You will also build on the amount of self-acceptance and understanding you have. These two qualities will make you feel successful and happy on their own, but they will also very clearly show you what you need to be content and inspired, and how to pursue things that bring you closer to your goals, and how to avoid things that simply waste your time.
I know that it sounds simple, but simple works. The next time you are experiencing stress, pain, anxiety, or criticism, soften into the experience. Acknowledge the pain. Name it. Notice where you are feeling tension, and soften around these areas. Remind yourself that you come by this experience naturally, and point out the ways. Then, ask yourself how you can be kind to yourself? Finally, say aloud or to yourself: I am doing the work, and that’s all that counts. You do not have control over how the world responds to your efforts. You do, on the other hand, possess the power to move in the direction of understanding, acceptance, and well-being no matter the consequences of the present or future. If you do these three things, you will be strong, you will be resilient, and will transform your life in a way that will inspire you every day.
365 Days Of Self-Compassion. Day 191. In The Books.