If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete. – Buddha
If I don’t feel compassion for myself, can I have compassion for others? I am extremely hard on myself. It is easier for me to give a stranger the benefit of the doubt than it is to give the same blessing to myself. Why are we so hard on ourselves? I was wondering if it could be something innate but I doubt it. Most of the negative thoughts and messages in my head were spoken to me by someone else first. Buddha might be on to something. Those negative thoughts and messages hurt me. Then I pulled them into myself holding them tight and dwelling on them for so long they became a part of my story. I need to have compassion for the hurt caused to me. If I only attempt to feel compassion for the person who hurt me, I’m missing the hurt in me. Once I have compassion for my own pain I will be able to heal.
As Gandhi wisely points out, even as we serve others we are working
on ourselves; every act, every word, every gesture of genuine compassion
naturally nourishes our own hearts as well. It is not a question of who is
healed first. When we attend to ourselves with compassion and mercy,
more healing is made available for others. And when we serve others with
an open and generous heart, great healing comes to us.
When I started this campaign to spread compassion, I had this grandiose idea of how it would take off and people would rush to commit acts of compassion. Unrealistic? Yes, but isn’t it how all change has started with an unrealistic thought? It made me stumble for a minute when I didn’t get any stories linked up. It is ok. I have compassion for all out there and how crazy life can be. I’m going to be here patiently waiting. In the meantime, I’m going to have compassion for myself and not beat myself up if no one joins in. All is not lost if I’m better person in the end.
When we see ourselves as we truly are–divinely perfect human beings
struggling to live out the gifts of spirituality–we have an opportunityto crack open the door of compassion a bit.
When we can compassionately see that we fumble,
we make mistakes, or that we are (if only faintly and occasionally!)
aware of a goodness within us that we do not always know how to express, we start
to be aware of feelings of compassion for ourselves. Once we are aware of compassion
for ourselves, it is only a very short step to begin to feel compassion for others.
Anne Wilson Schaef
I’m working a list of ways to treat myself compassionately. Are there things you don’t do because you think “I don’t deserve this”? I often feel this way. Going to a movie or dinner by myself. Soaking in a tub with a good book. A new pair of shoes or some new undies. I rarely spend money on myself. I happily spend on my hubby or daughter but not myself. I worry I’m being selfish. It is hard to convince myself self-compassion will make me a better wife, mother and friend. What are some ways you treat yourself with compassion?
Here is a great little saying by an author I love.
I am compassionate. I allow my heart and imagination to embrace the difficulties
and concerns of others. While maintaining my own balance, I find it within myself
to extend sympathy, attention, and support. When they are grieved, I listen with
openness and gentle strength. I offer loyalty, friendship, and human understanding.
Without undermining or enabling, I aid and assist others to find their strength.
I allow the healing power of the Universe to flow through me,
soothing the hearts and feelings of those I encounter.