The Road To Self-Compassion
The road to self-compassion is never the same for any one of us, which is what makes the journey so uniquely personal, and exciting. It is also the reason that we trust the results. They are, in fact, a composite of our proven hypotheses. Hypotheses like: Maybe this action will generate the kindness and well-being that I need? Perhaps this one?
Of course, there are parts of the process that we share, and are already mapped out (Identify the source of bodily stress. Soften around it. Identify the thought, feeling, or belief. Understand it compassionately by noticing how you come by it naturally, and think of how you might be kind to yourself.), but that last step (how can I be kind to myself?) is different for all of us.
It is that difference that allows the model to be flexible to fit us all, while being scientific enough to reassure us that it is not a convincing, parlor trick. We also do not need to get the same results or be in the same place as others to access it, and this is really important as a competitive effort towards well-being would actually negatively affect your results.
That said, we all have a tendency to compare ourselves to others, especially if we live in competitive environments. So, one potential obstacle to self-compassion is trying to be good at it, or more to the point, trying to be better at it than others. Self-Compassion, as inferred by the name, is an opportunity to break from the binary of win/lose, and to instead focus on recovery, well-being, and contentment.
Strained By The Chase
How many of us get so caught up chasing contentment that we fail to realize that it is the chasing part that has made us feel so stressed, overwhelmed, and at times, sick? I would guess that most of us take this bait. Buy this face cream, and feel better. Start this new exercise regime, and feel good enough. Get this degree or promotion, and finally feel worthy. This is the trouble sometimes in living in a society surrounded by businesses. People need a reason to sell you stuff, and the most compelling reason is your unhappiness, so sometimes they infer that you are unhappy to get you to bite. What is the saying? Everything is fair in love and war. Tell that to the wounded!
Cultivating Self-Compassion From Disappointment
So, let’s say that you take the bait, and you are feeling disappointed because this new things has not made you feel better in a meaningful way, and you are starting to feel like a sucker. Acknowledge that like most of us you are doing your best every day to have a good life, and that makes you vulnerable to tough days.
These tough days leave you wonting, and advertisers are good at selling to people, who feel disappointed. Then, notice where you are feeling tension, and soften around this part. Remind yourself that you come by your experience naturally. Now, ask yourself as a loving friend would, “How can I be really kind to myself in this moment?”
And, just like that your prior disappointment has become fertile ground for growing self-compassion. Your path will not always be obvious, but where there is joy (happiness you are sad will not last) or suffering (pain you fear will last forever), you will always have an opportunity to practice self-compassion.
365 Days Of Self-Compassion. Day 204. In The Books.