Self-compassion can be both a grand gesture of acceptance and a seemingly trivial display of respect. With time, self-compassion (a branch of self-love, which is a branch of real love) begins to encompass everything and permeate everything, impacting how we treat others and how we view our roles in the world. What self-compassion means to me may not be the same as what it means to you, but I bet there’s something in these notes to follow that you can relate to.
“A human being is part of the whole, called by us ‘universe,’ a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separate from the rest — a kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” — Albert Einstein
The Dalai Lama said about peace that it is “the manifestation of human compassion” and that “word peace must develop from inner peace.” That leads us to self-compassion, and what self-compassion means to us on a day-to-day basis.
Practicing self-compassion is not the only way to peace; compassion for ourselves is exquisitely tied to compassion for others. We can practice self-compassion to help others and we can practice showing compassion to others in order to help ourselves. Whichever entry point we choose, we are sure to feel its effects in our world.
Contrary to today’s popular belief that you cannot love others until you love yourself, I’ve experienced how loving others has helped me soften into a more loving approach to my own faults, insecurities, and suffering. As I witness how much we have in common, it’s easier to be easy on myself.
With that said, loving yourself (which includes self-compassion, especially during tough times) is a wise way to make the world a better place for everyone you meet and spend time with… including yourself.
The following is a gathering of my personal thoughts on what self-compassion means to me, and what it can potentially mean for you as you seek to make your world a bit brighter.
What Self-Compassion Means (to Me) on a Day-to-Day Basis
Being with yourself even if it’s uncomfortable and painful. Really, just sitting with whatever is going on inside of you—any thoughts, feelings, resistance, patterns, etc.
Loving yourself anyway.
Carrying your own lantern in a dark place. (Being a source of light when nobody else seems to be taking the reigns; not relying on others for your inner peace, but also understanding that you can work through others to work on yourself or, vice versa, you can work through yourself to work on others.)
Honoring your insecurities and sitting with your wounds without trying to make them be something they’re not.
Not forcing yourself to be something that you’re not.
Respecting your journey even if you do not understand it.Get to know yourself just as you are before striving to change who you are. Click To Tweet
Loving the decisions that you made mindfully.
Consciously not feeding into lies about who you are.
Releasing the need to use the words “blame,” “fault,” and “should.”(These can be quite unnecessary and harmful options.)
Protecting yourself from constant negativity and practicing being able to be in the middle of negativity without absorbing it.
Emitting your own frequency rather than being in a constant state of reactivity.
Forgiving yourself for forgetting to stop and get the groceries.Love is the most flattering thing you could wear. Click To Tweet
Paying attention to your intuition. Even if you decide something different than what you intuitively are sensing is the right direction, being mindful of that sensation and respecting its messages.
Remaining vulnerable (open and true to your values, which is strength) because you want to stay loving (because that’s who you are).
Saying “no” when there’s no exciting “yes” in your heart.
Appreciating something about yourself every day.
Writing down matters of the heart: qualities that you like about yourself and your life; dreams and ambitions; what you’ve survived; what you’re grateful for, and so on.
Choosing dark chocolate over milk chocolate here and there.A healthy lifestyle is sustained through self-compassion. Click To Tweet
Going for it even if there’s a chance of failure, with hope that you’re meant to be doing what you’re doing regardless of the outcome.
Showing compassion to others.
Witnessing your negative thoughts without identifying with them.
Allowing yourself quiet moments of mindfulness, even if it’s only for a deep inhale and exhale.
Right after saying something unkind to or about yourself, choosing to take a step back and rewrite that story.
Trying all sorts of different methods of caring for yourself and others without making it just another item on your to-do list.
Asking yourself, “What’s good for you?”
What does self-compassion mean to you?
Please share your compassionate practices, what has helped you build a more loving view of yourself and others, and any stories of forgiveness or mercy with me in the comments.
Start today’s self-compassion by brightening someone else’s day; send these notes to someone you care about.
Today, trade comparison for the understanding of our common humanity. We don’t need to be better than other people to be worthy; when we know we’re worthy first, then we can get to work on being better to other people. If you start there, that compassion will sweep through the whole and it won’t leave anyone out, not even you.