Self compassion is something that I’ve acquired in greater measure over the last ten years.
The need for it came slowly into my awareness during a period of great external life changes: an abrupt end to years of verbal & emotional abuse, separation & divorce from the person I was with for almost 30 years, leaving my home of 19 years, and living on my own for the first time ever.
Anytime we experience upheaval in our lives it pushes us outside of our comfort zones, but that’s not always a bad thing.
It forces us to take a hard look at who we really are and how we’re living. I saw a quote from an article that summed it up this way:
The other side of pain is not comfort, or health, or well-being. It is truth.~ Jennifer Waite
Living an authentic life isn’t easy. As we grow older we often conform to the rules of society and other people, in order to be accepted.
We stay in bad marriages “for the children.” We stay in jobs we hate because it’s “safer.” We subscribe to religions we no longer believe in because it’s “what we’ve always done.” We hide our true feelings, put away our dreams, and pretend to be something we’re not.
Don’t rock the boat, don’t step on toes, don’t question authority and don’t challenge the status quo.
Don’t believe it.
It takes a lot of self compassion to step outside the “uncomfortable-comfort zone” and be the person we’re meant to be. Particularly when doing so puts us at odds with our families and inner circles. Oftentimes, it causes great conflict and leads to the breakup of relationships.
But we must always accept who we are if we’re to live honestly. If we don’t, we grow to hate ourselves and eventually the people around us.
Reports about the shooter in the Orlando tragedy are saying he was a regular patron of the Pulse nightclub, where he so hatefully ended many lives and forever changed so many others.
Was he “casing the joint” in preparation for his murderous act or was he a closeted homosexual male, struggling with his real identity? If so, he was rejected by his father and the religion he followed. They taught him that gays are only worthy of death, unless they reject that part of themselves.
If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is part of yourself. What isn’t part of ourselves doesn’t disturb us. ~ Hermann Hesse
As the saying goes, “Judging other people doesn’t define who they are, it defines who you are.” Self acceptance and self compassion are never selfish acts, they are acts of love towards the self. When we accept and offer compassion to others, it is an act of love to the other. As Terri Guillemets said, “A loving heart heals hate.”
I say let’s all do our part and let the healing begin.