What You Need to Know About Self-Compassion

The older I get, the more I realize that I don’t know shit about life.

I’m serious.

Think about it: even if you are the most knowledgeable astrophysicist in the world, you only know a small fraction of all there is to know about astrophysics … and you probably know a lot.

Knowing that I don’t really know much about anything has humbled me. It’s made it easier for me to approach life and everyone I encounter as a student. I’m convinced that everyone has something to teach me about life AND especially about myself -- how I am showing up and interacting with life and what beliefs and attitudes need to be healed in order to move forward on my path.

I’ve said it many times: Lyric is my greatest teacher.

She has undergone so much growth and transformation in such a short amount of time. She has gone from loathing tummy time to sitting up to crawling (she actually started crawling backwards first) and now she’s walking and into everything. It’s amazing to see her understand and respond to requests such as, “Please bring me the book over there on the floor” or “Dame besito.” I love to read with her and watch her flip the pages of the book. It’s a joy to watch her dance to her favorite songs and squeal in delight. I still can’t believe this human is my daughter. I’m not sure I’ll ever get over the awe.

I gotta hand it to babies, toddlers, and children: they are brilliant. They are little sponges that learn faster than we adults ever could.

There have been many tears involved in her growth, both hers and mine. Those first two minute tummy time sessions were torture for both of us. She’s fallen down more times than I can count and every time she does, I feel like my heart stops. Oftentimes she’s watching for my reaction and it’s been hard to hold back my fear and my tears (I cry easily, if you haven’t picked that up yet). She is my most precious blessing and part of me wants to hold her close forever and ever.

She has shown me the depths of my love and compassion. As she navigates this world and learns her way, I am filled with compassion for her. She’s only been on the earth for 17 months. Why am I going to get mad at her, berate or belittle her? Nah, I’d rather teach her, encourage her, and praise her. I know that my words will form a huge part of the way she speaks to herself when she’s older.

She has given me tremendo a-ha moment: why am I not treating myself this way?

I love that quote:

If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.
— Jack Kornfield

I have never before been a 36 year old mother of one strong willed daughter, running my own business, and figuring out what comes next. There are so many things I don’t know or haven’t tried. I could be handling all of this swimmingly or I could be really messing it up. I’m doing the best I can.

If you think about it, every day that you wake up is a day that you have never experienced before.

If you’re 60, that's not a very long time to be on the earth (when you consider that there are trees that are over 4,000 years old). You’re probably navigating health issues that you’ve never had before and dealing with things that you’ve never dealt with before (Do I retire? Do I sell my house and move into assisted living? Have I done my will?). Nothing could have ever really prepared you for this. You’re doing the best you can.

If you’re 45, you’re probably dealing with the health issues of your parents (who have always been your rock), teenagers testing boundaries and managing your workload at the office. Nothing could have ever really prepared you for this. You’re doing the best you can.

If you’re 22, you’ve just graduated and you’re trying to figure out the world of work for the first time. You’re trying to think about what impact you want to leave on the earth while balancing your checkbook. Nothing could have ever really prepared you for this. You’re doing the best you can.

Keep in mind I’m not even accounting for any past trauma or negative experiences that you’ve experienced in your path. When you factor that all that in, you realize that you are stronger than you give yourself credit for.

I applaud all of you because I don’t know if I could ever walk a mile in your shoes. You are dealing with real shit and you’re still standing. Take time to honor your story and how far you’ve come.

There's always so much pressure to have it all figured out and life just isn't like that.

Every day is new and filled with things that we could not possibly anticipate. Some of it good, some of it not so good. You don’t know what you don’t know and when you know better, you do better.

That being said, the time has come to include ourselves in our own compassion. It’s time to start cutting ourselves some slack. We are all doing the best we can with what we have.

So the next time you find yourself belittling, berating, judging or self-sabotaging yourself, remember that you are just as worthy of your own compassion as your kids, your best friends, your family, your community are.

Now it’s your turn. Comment below and let me know where in your life you need to show yourself compassion.

I’m cheering for you. Like you’re your own best friend.

 

This article is for informational purposes only, even if and to the extent that it features the advice of physicians and medical practitioners. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.