We give ourselves compassion not to feel better, but because we feel bad.
This is such an important concept to integrate. Being critical and judging ourselves harshly, keeps us stuck in a cycle of never feeling good enough or like we aren’t growing or making progress with ourselves.
This might make you scratch your head a bit (that’s what paradoxes do), but it’s an important principle to understand in order for self-compassion to be effective.
|When we are kind and supportive to ourselves in a moment of suffering, if we use self-compassion as a way to sugar coat or resist the reality of pain in the moment, it will backfire. As we know, what we resist, persists and grows stronger.|
We must accept the reality that right now – in this moment – it hurts. It is by opening to this truth with warmth and support that we eventually start to heal.
|It’s like a mother whose young son has the 48-hour flu. She soothes and comforts her sick child not to drive the flu out (it’s going to take its own time to pass), but simply to lessen his distress.|
Of course, she will do what she can to help his illness pass more quickly (giving lots of liquids, rest, and medicine if needed) – but she must accept the fact that her son has the flu.
It’s the same with our own pain, whether it’s caused by physical illness or simply the emotional challenges of being a flawed human being living an imperfect life.
We must be kind to ourselves not as a manipulation strategy to deny reality (which will only make things worse), but as a way to support ourselves through it.
“By Giving ourselves unconditional kindness and comfort while embracing the human experience, difficult as it is, we avoid destructive patterns of fear, negativity and isolation.” – Kristin Neff
|I like to say that the only way out is through. It’s by opening to our pain with a tender heart, while also taking fierce action to help as best we can, that we can most effectively navigate the ups and downs of life.|
Giving ourselves self-compassion and opening up to ourselves with a warm heart gives us the ability to see those around us in a more loving and compassionate way as well.
We are all humans, doing the best we can with what we have. This perception makes the tough times a little less difficult.