During my teen years, there were some tough days. Being a kid that came from a difficult background, I mostly hid my emotions. I kept a tough face on during school, smiled and laughed in my conversations with girls, and smoked cigarettes at night to dull my senses. There were days, when these tricks were simply not enough, and though I tried desperately to hold them back, I would tear up without an audible cry. Despite not making a sound, my dog, Ted, always knew. He would jump up on the couch, crowding me into the cushions with his large body. He would lick the tears off of my face, and rest his head on my chest. I would fall asleep next to Ted, like siblings do, and wake up with a little more optimism, and well-being.
No Explanations, Apologies, Or Endless Thanks Needed For Compassion
The truth is that Ted never needed me to explain, apologize, or express endless gratitude for his kindness. He knew that I was suffering, and his natural inclination was to comfort me, and simply let me know that he was there. He could not talk, but he had very understanding eyes, and a warmth that was all his own. My brothers teased him for being afraid of cats, dogs, and bunnies, the vacuum, and of course the parquet floor that he ran across as fast as he could to avoid its slipperiness. Despite their criticisms, Ted was my hero. He had loving compassion super powers. I am forever grateful for the time we spent together. So many years later, I still miss him every day.
Self-Compassion Essentials From Ted
Rather than hoard all of the lessons I learned from Ted, I thought that I would share some of these gems with you. First, never apologize for what you are feeling. Second, you are deserving of compassion and support, as soon as you suffer. Third, there is no threshold for compassion. The slightest tinge of suffering deserves compassion. Fourth, sometimes you just need someone to acknowledge your feelings, and hug you, even if that person is you. Fifth, if you have all night to be kind to yourself, do so. You will reap the benefits in the morning.
I have certain shows that warm my heart. When my day has been absolutely terrible, I let these shows play next to me on a laptop or Ipad, and I go to sleep right next to this loving energy. If this would keep you up, think about putting a picture of someone you love close to you, or putting on music that warms your heart set at a low volume, while you rest.
The Power Of Ted
May your life be full of Teds. May you be your own Ted. Never apologize, explain, or feel compelled to confess hours of gratitude for well-deserved compassion (and it is all well-deserved). It is perfectly ok to feel that you lack the freedom to express your feelings and are undeserving of compassion. Acknowledge these internal protests. Let them pass, and be kind to yourself, anyway. That is the power of Ted.
365 Days OfSelf-Compassion. Day 233. In The Books.