Monday Musings: Compassion

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“If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.”

How many of you have heard this quote? And how many of you follow it? It’s so much easier for us to find compassion for others than it is to find compassion for ourselves. We tend to hold ourselves to impossible standards that we would never hold another person to.

Just for a moment imagine how might it be to start to show yourself the level of compassion that you show others. Perhaps in the spirit of new beginnings this year you could open yourself up to the possibility that you are worthy of the same compassion that you show to others.

How does this look in practice? Well, when you find that you are saying something to yourself that you wouldn’t say to someone else, simply (it’s simple, not easy) stop and notice - without judgement - and ask yourself what you would say to someone you care about in the same situation. For example, let’s say that you didn’t do as well on an assignment as you’d hoped to and you realize that you’re starting to say thing to yourself like “I’m stupid” or “I never do anything right,” pause for a moment. Would you ever call a friend stupid or say that they never do anything right? Of course not! You would tell them that they did their best and that it sucks that it didn’t work out as they’d hoped. You can say the same to yourself. You really can. If it still feels impossible, ask yourself what that’s about - what makes you believe that you are less worthy of compassion than anyone else.

Remember that this is a practice, and doing so once won’t stop the negative thoughts from coming. But the more that you do it over time, the less often and less loudly the negative voices will arise and your mind will be a quieter and more caring place for you. Give yourself the gift of compassion. It matters and you deserve it!

-- Justini