Someone who I loved very much told me this when she died: “Be merciful with yourself.”
Those words were burned onto my heart, but their wisdom can still be hard for me to practice.
When I talk to my friends and family, I can see that I’m not at all alone in suffering a certain lack of self-compassion. A lot of people are pretty tough on themselves.
It seems, though, that we can learn to be kinder to ourselves, more forgiving of ourselves, and that doing so can be a factor in improving both physical and emotional health.
Something I’ve been doing lately is embracing the notion of “enough.”
I'm an achiever at heart, and we Americans are pretty much professional doers. What happens when I just allow things to be as they are -- to change nothing? Or when I acknowledge that I’ve already exerted my effort for something, even if the result isn’t what I expected (or maybe wanted)?
In these moments, I’ve found that a certain helplessness arises. It might even be tinged with grief. That’s pretty uncomfortable.
But as I breathe and allow myself to drop into “enoughness,” peace inevitably follows.
Self-compassion and the peace it can cultivate is a good place for us to look as we seek to step into courageous conversations with our loved ones, friends and colleagues. It might even help us mend the fissures in our extended human family.
What does self-compassion look like for you?