In this entry, we are going to look at a specific flavor of self-compassion that I call dog compassion. If you know me, then you know I am a lover of all animals, especially dogs. There is something about an animal that seems to love you know matter what, and offers their own version of a hug through cuddling or jumping front paws first into our arms that makes us feel like we are enough. I came up with dog compassion for people, who have memories of important caregivers, who packaged mistreatment under the guise of compassion. The only thing worse than not getting compassion is when someone treats you terribly, and calls it compassion.
Practicing Dog Compassion
Thus, in order to practice self-compassion without getting an automatic response of chills, sadness, or disgust, I give patients some distance between themselves and other humans by using dog compassion. I ask them to think of an animal (so long as they like animals) doing something kind for another animal. Then, I ask them to think of an animal doing something compassionate for a human. After which, I ask them to imagine sitting with the suffering an animal might go through, such as pain, missing animals or humans, sickness, and disappointment. I ask them if they can relate to these feelings, and urge them to offer compassion to these animals, and to sneak themselves in there as just another animal that is deserving of compassion.
Dog Compassion Is Enough
Sometimes, it takes as much as months, but people are eventually able to transition to human compassion, although (and this bears saying) this transformation is not actually necessary to be kind to yourself. As kindness is the goal, feel free to practice dog compassion for the rest of your days, and know that you and your practice are more than enough.
365 Days Of Self-Compassion. Day 249. In The Books.